Credit: Wolr Affairs Council CC BY 4.0

Tony Blair urges G7 to create vaccine passport system

Tony Blair has said global vaccine passports should be at the top of the G7 agenda.

The former British Prime Minister’s think-tank, “Tony Blair Institute for Global Change” has written to Boris Johnson’s government urging them to use their presidency of the G7 this year to implement a vaccine passport programme.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Mr. Blair claims that the passport system is “inevitable”, calling current border restrictions “disjointed” and says the UK must “place the creation of a global Covid-19 travel pass as a key item on the G7 agenda” in order to eventually create a wider global agreement.

The former Labour leader said a digital passport should track and verify the holder’s Covid-19 status using a QR code, as well as detail their vaccination history.

Despite admitting the system could lead to “inequalities”, he said uniform standards would re-open economies and countries to travellers and business, helping to “re-connect” the globe.

“One (risk) is that everyone just does their own thing, which is much more chaotic and difficult to manage. Or secondly, there’s a set of rules in place that you may not be that happy with,” Blair said.

“It’s better to have common rules and a common verification system, so that people know what your disease status is and know it with some validation.

“It’s going to be a new world altogether. The sooner we grasp that and start to put in place the decisions [needed for a] deep impact over the coming years the better.”

Blair had predicted last April that the pandemic would lead to “dramatically increased technological surveillance”, and that “under the right conditions, this is a price worth paying.”

The travel industry accounts for 10% of the world’s economy, with airlines reportedly suffering a net loss of €98 billion last year.

Emirates recently announced it will roll-out of a trial Travel Pass, partnering with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to allow passengers to store key testing and vaccine information on a newly-developed app for travelling.

An IATA spokesman said that the travel app is “the first step in making international travel during the pandemic as convenient as possible giving people the confidence that they are meeting all COVID-19 entry requirements by governments”.

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