The government is working on turning the NHS Covid app into a vaccine certification in order to allow people to travel out of the country, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said.
Mr Shapps also said domestic coronavirus statistics «look good» to enable the resumption of foreign holidays in England on May 17 under the current lockdown lifting plans.
‘We’ve got to be really cautious’ given our Covid progress warns Transport Secretary
He told Sky News: «In terms of vaccine certification, I can confirm we are working on an NHS application, actually it will be the NHS app that is used for people when they book appointments with the NHS and so on, to be able to show you’ve had a vaccine or you’ve had testing.
Mr Shapps told ITV’s Good Morning Britain he was chairing meetings with the G7 and various other international bodies to ensure any form of Covid travel certification is recognised worldwide.
Grant Shapps says he doesn’t yet know which countries will be in which ‘traffic light’ category
He warned, however, that the UK should not be complacent and pointed to the fact despite the success of getting the virus under control at home – the same can not be said for many other countries.
Mr Shapps said in recent days the world had broken new records for the number of new cases reported.
The government is currently working on a traffic light system for international travel, with «green» countries not requiring any form of quarantine at all upon returning home.
Mr Shapps told GMB to get on the green list countries need to have «low levels of coronavirus, high levels of vaccination, be confident in their data and be able to genome sequence».
Despite his warnings, Mr Shapps said the good news from home did increase the prospect of foreign holidays abroad this year.
‘It would be nice to have something more concrete’ – the travel industry reacts to the news
He told Sky News: “I have to say that so far the data does continue to 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.”
He added he will set out which countries fall into the “green”, “amber” and “red” categories under the new risk-based traffic light system “towards the beginning of May”.
Many countries which are reliant on the tourism sector have been announcing plans to welcome back British tourists in order to kick start their economy again.
On Wednesday Spain, the most popular foreign holiday destination for UK holidaymakers, revealed it would be welcoming tourists back from June.
The country is hoping to use the EU wide digital certificate to verify a person’s Covid status and allow them entry to the country.
In terms of the categorisation of Spain Mr Shapps told Times Radio: “Spain specifically, I’m afraid I just don’t have the answer to that because the Joint Biosecurity Centre will need to come up with their assessment and we can’t do that until a bit nearer the time.»
Coronavirus – What you need to know
“So we will need to wait and see,» he added.
Portugal has also recently said it hopes to welcome British tourists back in May.
Asked when the country will be opening its borders to tourists Portugal’s ambassador to the UK, Manuel Lobo Antunes, told Sky News: “As soon as possible, this is not just a unilateral matter, we have to coordinate this issue with our British friends and the UK government.