Friday, July 19, 2024

Are digital health passports a good idea?

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The rollout of the first batches of COVID-19 vaccines in Britain and the United States has reignited a debate around the possible use of digital health passports to ease the lockdowns that are crippling the global economy.

Proponents say identifying people who are immune to the novel coronavirus or at lower risk of spreading it could help open up travel and other services. But, critics have raised concerns over privacy, health and discrimination.

As more technology firms develop digital certificates that can be accessed on smartphones by employers, airlines and others, here is all you need to know about health passports.

What are health passports?

The term health passport, or health pass, generally refers to documents – in paper or digital format – that certify a person is unlikely to either catch or spread a disease.

With the novel coronavirus, the proposed certificates would attest one of three things: that the holder has been vaccinated, has tested negative for the virus or has recovered from it.

Their use could allow governments to lift some pandemic-induced restrictions, allowing people to travel in planes, attend concerts, go to work or dine out, supporters say.

“We’ve tried many different solutions to properly and safely reopen hospitality, sport venues and other things that are very important, not just for our economy, but also for mental wellbeing of people,” said Ryan Wain, an advisor at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, a British think tank. Read more…

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