The NHS app will be used as a digital pass for overseas travel this summer, transport secretary Grant Shapps has said.
Speaking to Sky News on Wednesday (28 April), Shapps laid out – for the first time – further details of the UK government’s plans to restart international travel.
He also said the long-awaited "green list" of destinations for which there will be no return quarantine requirement for travellers would be published "in the next couple of weeks".
A limited resumption of international travel is expected to resume from 17 May, as per the government’s Covid-19 roadmap and the findings of the Global Travel Taskforce – and Shapps said the data was "looking good" for that "from a UK perspective".
The transport secretary said he could confirm the government was working to extend the functionality of the existing NHS app, not the NHS Covid-19 app, to accommodate vaccine certification.
"We are working on an NHS application, in fact, it will be the NHS app people use when they book appointments and so on, to show that you’ve had a vaccine or that you’ve had testing," he said.
"And I’m working internationally with partners across the world to make sure that that system can be internationally recognised.
"So that’s the way forward, and I’m chairing a meeting of the G7 secretaries of state for transport next week on exactly this subject."
Shapps was also pressed repeatedly on when the government would reveal how destinations will be categorised under a new traffic light system that will govern the resumption of international travel next month.
"The earliest possible unlock is 17 May, so we won’t have international travel before that," said Shapps. "We’ve said that will be the earliest date, I have to say the data does so far look good from a UK perspective, notwithstanding those concerns about where people might be travelling to and making sure we’re protected from the disease being reimported.
"Specifically about when I’ll be able to say more about it, I won’t be able to do it a long time in advance because, of course, the situation changes the whole time with this pandemic.
"But towards the beginning of May, I will set out which countries fall into the various different categories, so there’s not long to wait now – within the next couple of weeks."