A new ‘Covid passport’ to replace quarantine is being trialled in the UK - here’s how it works

A new ‘Covid passport’ to replace quarantine is being trialled in the UK - here’s how it works (Photo: Shutterstock)

A new digital pass which is being trialled in the UK could help international travellers avoid coronavirus quarantine measures.

If successful, the CommonPass app, which is being launched by the World Economic Forum and The Commons Project, will allow international travellers to avoid lengthy periods of self-isolation.

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What does the app do?

By allowing users to take a Covid-19 test at a certified lab and providing additional information through questionnaires as required by their destination countries, the app will be able to confirm whether travellers meet the health requirements to travel without quarantining.

If they test negative and meet the other criteria, travellers will be able to show airport security and border guards a QR code generated by the app, meaning they won’t have to self-isolate upon arrival.

When and where will it be tested?

The app will be tested throughout October, on flights between London Heathrow and New York Newark airport, as well as between Hong Kong and Singapore.

Travellers will volunteer to test the app, with government officials also on board to monitor the process.

There are plans to roll out testing further afield with more airlines.

Speaking to The Telegraph, the Common Project’s chief medical officer, Dr Bradley Perkins, said, “Without the ability to trust Covid-19 tests – and eventually vaccine records – across international borders, many countries will feel compelled to retain full travel bans and mandatory quarantines for as long as the pandemic persists.”

Current rules mean travellers who return from destinations which do not feature on the Foreign Office’s travel corridor list are required to self-isolate for 14 days, and some countries will require new arrivals to self-isolate too.

Heathrow Airport’s process improvement director, Mark Burgess, said, “For some time now, Heathrow has been calling for the creation of a common international standard, and cross-border pilots such as these could help governments across the world and the industry to unlock the benefits of testing in aviation.

“We’re looking forward to reviewing the findings of these trials and using the learnings to support the recovery of an industry that provides so many jobs and economic opportunities globally.”