Starting from next month, Singapore will be accepting visitors with mobile travel passes containing digital certificates for COVID-19 vaccines and tests, becoming one of the first countries in the world to adopt the initiative.
Singapore will accept the International Air Transport Association (IATA) mobile travel pass for pre-departure checks, where travelers can get clearance to fly to and enter Singapore by showing a smartphone application containing their data from accredited laboratories, the country’s aviation regulator said Monday.
The travel pass has been successfully tested by Singapore Airlines. More than 20 carriers, including Emirates, Qatar Airways and Malaysia Airlines, are also testing the pass.
In Europe, a few countries, including Denmark, have proposed the scheme to make safe travel possible. Meanwhile, Britain will test in-country COVID-19 status passports to allow people to safely return to mass gatherings. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) has strongly spoken against this, saying that vaccine passports, in particular, will cause “inequity and unfairness (to) be further branded into the system.”
“The success of our joint efforts will make IATA’s partnership with the government of Singapore a model for others to follow,” IATA Director General Willie Walsh said in a statement.
Asian business hub Singapore, which has had relatively few coronavirus cases this year, has been a leader in developing and using technology during the pandemic and wants to be among the first countries to reopen to host international events.
Airlines are hoping more countries will approve digital passes on apps to allow travel to resume faster and avoid complications and delays at airports where multiple checks on documents are required.
Currently, travelers from most countries are required to take pre-departure COVID-19 swab tests within 72 hours of their flights in order to travel to Singapore, with results presented at airport check-in and on arrival.