China has launched a digital passport for its citizens that will allow them to prove their health status while traveling to or from abroad and may further help to open China’s borders.
This “health certificate for international travel” is a smartphone application that displays and certifies passenger health data, such as their Kovid test (PCR and antibodies) or their vaccination status.
At the moment, the application is not compulsory and is reserved for the Chinese people.
It will “give them more convenience in their journey”, according to the New China News Agency, “mutual recognition agreements for health certificates are concluded between China and other countries.”
The purpose of the application is to “promote global economic recovery and facilitate cross-border crossing”, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, without specifying what benefits it rightfully offers – or whether other countries intend to recognize it.
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The United States and the United Kingdom are considering launching similar systems. In the European Union, the idea of a “Green Passport” will be presented by the Commission in Brussels on 17 March.
With the exception of local outbreaks, China has largely been ousted from Kovid-19 due to imprisonment, mass screening, wearing of masks and quarantine imposed upon entry into the country by the spring of 2020.
Launched on Monday through a mini-program integrated into the popular WeChat application, the new Chinese Health Passport can also be printed in a paper version.
Since the end of March 2020, China has only allowed Chinese people to enter its territory, as well as a limited number of foreigners. It has also significantly reduced its international flights.
Among foreigners, only diplomats, business world actors or those holding valid residence and work permits may enter the country under certain conditions.
All passengers, Chinese and foreign, must complete a quarantine of at least 14 days in a hotel upon arrival at their own expense.
The launch of this digital health passport suggests the possibility of normalization of this system to foreigners in the medium term, or even partially lifting travel restrictions on entering or leaving the country.