NHS app will be Covid passport
Today Grant Shapps confirmed that the NHS app will be adapted so that it can be used as a Covid passport for travel. This should be relatively easy to adapt as it already shows the date and type of vaccination. I checked mine after setting up the required account and it showed the dates of my two vaccines but it didn’t state the type of Covid vaccine or batch number.
The government had said that it could be ready by the middle of May but given its past app development, my confidence is fairly low on that one! You just need your NHS number to register.
Grants Shapps said “In terms of vaccine certification, I can confirm… it will be an NHS app that is used for people when they book appointments with the NHS and so on to be able to show that you’ve had a vaccine or that you’ve had testing,”
“And I’m working internationally with partners across the world, to make sure that that system can be internationally recognised,” he said.
He was also uncharacteristically hopeful about travel resuming saying that “The data does continue to look good from a UK perspective, notwithstanding those concerns about where people might be travelling to and making sure that we’re protected from the disease being reimported,”
It is expected that he should reveal the details of the traffic light categorisation of countries by the end of next week.
Dixons Travel to close
As if airports and the travel industry weren’t suffering enough the government decided prior to Brexit that there would be no more duty free or tax free shopping from the beginning of 2021 except on alcohol and cigarettes. The first casualty of this decision has fallen in the form of Dixons travel. While many items were overpriced you could get some genuine bargains on more expensive items. It was also very handy for those electronic accessories that you had forgotten to pack! Dixons will close all 35 Dixons travel stores.
Dixons said, “We do not expect passenger numbers to recover sufficiently to compensate for the removal of airside tax-free shopping by the UK Government from 1 January. This has led to the difficult decision to close this business, which historically made an annual profit contribution of over £20m.”
Portugal in May, Spain to welcome tourists in June?
Spain’s tourism minister Fernando Valdes Verelst has said that the country should be ready to welcome all international visitors by June.
He said “I think the best thing that governments right now can provide to travellers is certainty, give the proper information and the security that they can travel and they can come back to the countries.
“In those terms, in the European Union, we put in place a system … that provides us with digital certificate.
“Spain is going to be ready in June to use this digital certificate. We are doing a pilot programme in May, in all our 46 airports.
“We are going to give all these travellers that certainty. Spain is going to be ready in June to tell all travellers worldwide that you can visit us.”
Spain has initially proposed a trial opening in May with the UK and the Balearic Islands but it has gone very quiet on that front recently. This could be what he is referring to with the pilot program although he refers to all airports.
Portugal too has signalled British holidaymakers could be welcomed from the middle of May with travel consultant Paul Charles believing that it will be green when then list is announced (handy if so as it’s my first trip abroad).
He has also made further predictions about other countries
Now starting to get a clearer picture of what other governments are expecting to happen in “green category”: #Portugal and #Malta from May; #Greece #Turkey #Spain #France and #Italy from June (same as last year); and #USA from end of June. #saveoursummer @ThePCAgency @TheSun pic.twitter.com/Z9wq8RM5iE
— Paul Charles 🚦🚦🚦 (@PPaulCharles) April 27, 2021