Tourism officials in Macau are optimistic regarding China forming a health passport program to allow mainland residents who have been vaccinated to travel internationally.
The People’s Republic of China recently announced the creation of an “international travel health certificate.” The program permits people fully vaccinated from the COVID-19 virus to present the credential at cross-border gates.
"Vaccine passport is going to be a major trend in the future,” said Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, the director of the Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO).
The tourism boss said not only will the passport initiative “give everyone confidence and revive tourism,” but also “help better in preventing imported cases” of COVID-19.
Macau welcomed more than 39.4 million visitors in 2019. Almost 71% — or 27.9 million — arrived from the mainland.
Slowly but surely, Macau is easing its entry procedures. However, the enclave is still only accessible to people arriving from the mainland, Hong Kong, or Taiwan.
China is launching its international travel health certificate in conjunction with WeChat, a wildly popular social media and mobile payment app in China. Mainlanders can go on the app, apply for a health passport, and upload their test and vaccination certifications.
Jase Ramsey, a professor of management at Florida Gulf Coast University’s Lutgert College of Business, says there are naturally apprehensions about an app holding so much health data.
As with any app that stores health records, there will be privacy and fraud concerns,” Ramsey told CNBC.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged caution to countries considering health passports. “This is because the efficacy of vaccines in preventing transmission is not yet clear, and global vaccine supply is limited,” said WHO.
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