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China Among the First to Introduce Vaccine Passports

Available in both digital and paper formats, the certificate shows details of a traveler's COVID-19 inoculation and test results

China has unveiled an international vaccine health passport that will exempt travelers from certain travel restrictions. The passport, which is available in both digital and paper formats, shows details of a traveler’s COVID-19 inoculation, as well as nucleic acid and antibody test results.

“The pandemic is still with us, but the world economy needs to be restarted and people-to-people exchanges resumed with no more delays,” said ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, according to reports in the Strait Times.

For now the certificate would still require international arrivals to complete a 14-day quarantine, the Times reports.

China is ready to discuss with other countries on establishing mutually recognized mechanisms for health codes, Zhao said.

Travelers from Hong Kong and Macau inoculated with a Chinese or foreign-produced vaccine are likely to be among the first to benefit from such a program.

Meanwhile, domestic travelers holding a vaccine passport will benefit from restriction-free travel without further testing requirements, Zhu Zhengfu, a member of China’s political advisory body CPPCC, told the Global Times.

China’s announcement comes as momentum seems to be building toward some kind of international health passport regime. The European Union is set to propose its own “digital green card” next week, and members of the ASEAN group of 10 have indicated that discussions are underway to develop a common vaccine certificate of their own.