Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi has said it is time to get the travel industry back on its feet by capitalising on the UK’s successful Covid-19 vaccination programme.
Speaking at a government Covid briefing shortly after the industry gathered outside Westminister for Travel Day of Action on Wednesday (23 June), Zahawi said the government’s Travel Taskforce would continue work with other countries to unlock travel.
Pressed on the issue of vaccine certification by Helia Ebrahimi from Channel 4 News, who asked the minister if the government would use vaccine passes to open up travel, Zahawi said both vaccination and testing would be key to proving Covid status for travel.
"We know a number of countries will require some form of certification, as they have done historically whether it’s yellow fever passport certification or otherwise," said Zahawi.
"This is why on 17 May we made the operationalising of that possible with either the [NHS] app or a letter you can receive demonstrating that you’ve been vaccinated."
He continued: "Of course, we’ll continue to work with other countries through the Travel Taskforce to see how we can build on all this really good progress in the vaccination programme so that we can have the use of double vaccination with testing to open up more of our economy."
Zahawi said test events, such as the recent England vs Croatia Euro 2020 match he attended where those not yet fully vaccinated were required to take a lateral flow test no more than 24 hours prior to the event, had worked "incredibly well".
"So a combination of [vaccination and testing] I think is the way forward," he added. "We’re looking at all of that at the moment to see how one, we can open up more of our economy, and of course make sure we work with other countries to facilitate travel globally because we need to get the travel industry back on its feet too."