EU launches vaccine passport as UK prepares to update travel green list

The EU has launched a quarantine-free travel system for citizens of the bloc to help boost the summer tourism season.

The “digital green certificate” will allow EU citizens with proof of vaccination, proof of recovery from the virus or a negative Covid-19 test, to travel within the EU.

The app-based system launched on 1 July and allows travellers to use a QR code to show their status and allow them to avoid quarantine.

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The UK is set to update its rules for foreign travel this month, with analysis by The Telegraph suggesting more than 20 countries could be added to the green list of locations that UK citizens can visit without quarantining on their return.

The countries that could be added are France, Italy, Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Poland, Norway, Vietnam, Denmark, Slovakia, North Macedonia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Moldova, Taiwan and Azerbaijan, the report said.

According to the analysis by Robert Boyle, former British Airways strategy chief, all of the above countries have high testing and vaccination rates, low prevalence of variants, infection rates below 20 cases per 100,000 and fewer than 1.5% of tests with a positive Covid result.

The report said that locations currently on the green list, such as Malta, Madeira, the Balearic Islands, Iceland and Gibraltar, all met the above criteria.

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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel today with foreign travel likely to be discussed.

Merkel has called for all UK travellers entering the EU to be subject to quarantine because of concerns over the spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19 which is now prevalent in the UK.

However, the fast spread of the Delta variant through the EU means her stance may soften.

Germany’s health minister Jens Spahn said on 1 July that Germany expects the Delta variant to account for up to 80% of its infections this month, and said it could ease travel restrictions on countries where the variant is already prevalent such as the UK and Portugal, Reuters reported.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email James Booth

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