Nov 11, 2020 - Economy

Airlines urge nations to replace quarantine with digital travel pass

Newark Airport

Photo: Smith Collection/Gado

Three global alliances representing 58 airlines are pushing governments to replace onerous quarantine restrictions with widespread COVID-19 testing and digital travel passes that would verify who's safe to fly, AP reports.

Why it matters: Adopting common testing procedure with results verified by a secure smartphone app could help restart international travel by building trust between countries without requiring a 14-day quarantine.

  • The three alliances, Oneworld, Star Alliance and SkyTeam, cited recent tests of the CommonPass digital health passport system, a nonprofit initiative backed by the World Economic Forum and Swiss-based foundation The Commons Project.
  • United Airlines is among the carriers that piloted the technology.

How it works: Passengers get a COVID-19 test up to 72 hours before traveling.

  • They log their test results from a certified laboratory into a smartphone app, where travelers also complete other health screening measures.
  • The app then generates a quick response code that can be scanned by airline staff and border officials upon arrival.

Yes, but: A negative test result is merely a snapshot in time, and doesn't guarantee a person is virus-free when they travel.

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