New certificates confirming that holidaymakers are safe to travel could see EU borders reopened to UK visitors this summer, the European Commission says.
The “Digital Green Certificates” will be accepted as proof that a person has had a Covid vaccine, produced a negative test or recovered from the virus.
They will “facilitate safe and free movement” within countries of the bloc – but could also be obtained by non-EU nationals in countries currently banned from visiting it.
Southern European countries heavily reliant on tourism, such as Spain, have pushed for the measure in order to boost their economies this summer.
Officials in Greece, Turkey and Cyprus have all said that they expect to welcome British tourists, suggesting that the certificates could be available in the UK.
Some in other EU states, like France, have expressed concern it could discriminate against the majority of people who have not yet been offered a vaccine.
National health authorities will issue the passes according to the plans, although the exact process of obtaining one has not yet been outlined. This will be discussed during a summit of EU leaders next week.
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove is leading a UK Government review into “Covid status certificates”, possibly delivered through the NHS coronavirus app.
This could feature a digital health passport, bearing details of vaccinations and negative test results.
Boris Johnson warned last month that documents providing proof of having received a jab would “raise all sorts of issues” – but added that certificates enabling international travel “will be a feature of our life in the future”.
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The Government’s Global Travel Taskforce will provide a report to the Prime Minister on April 12, setting out recommendations for how and when foreign holidays could resume.
Leisure travel is currently banned for people living in the UK, but the rule could be relaxed for those in England from May 17.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said he is “hopeful” that foreign travel will soon be possible, but could provide no “cast iron guarantees”.
He has also suggested that holidays abroad would not be permitted until everyone in the country had been vaccinated against Covid.