Covid vaccine passport may aid tourism: Macau official

Covid vaccine passport may aid tourism: Macau official

The head of the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) said on Tuesday that the city was seeking further guidance from the mainland China authorities regarding a so-called vaccination passport programme announced by the latter, to enable people to travel more easily outside mainland boundaries.

Such a system – which China has referred to as an “international travel health certificate” – is to encompass Covid-19 test results and vaccination status of mainland China residents, according to mainland media reports.

At a Tuesday event in Macau, MGTO’s director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes was asked by local media about China’s announced programme.

She said she believed such a “vaccine passport is going to be a major trend in future”.

If a system were “implemented” and “commonly recognised” it could “give everyone confidence and revive tourism,” the MGTO boss added.

It might also “help better in preventing imported cases” of Covid-19, she said.

Since Tuesday, Macau has included Covid-19 vaccination status in its digital platform for health self-certification, known locally as the “health code” system.

Mainland China is currently the only place to have a largely quarantine-free travel bubble with Macau. While vaccination programmes are operating in mainland China and Macau, for now, the city still requires inbound mainlanders to present a Covid-19 test certificate valid for seven days.

Since Monday, mainland residents have been able to register via Chinese social media application WeChat for the mainland’s “international travel health certificate” programme. It was not clear from media reports whether any overseas jurisdictions have so far flagged they would recognise such as ‘vaccination-passport’ system.

Certification is to be available in digital and paper format, according to media reports.

Zhao Lijian, a spokesman of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at the latter’s regular press conference on Monday, that China was ready to discuss with other countries establishing a mutually-recognised mechanism for “health codes”, to “facilitate cross-border travel”.

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