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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.

Go deeper

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Germany to impose travel restrictions to curb spread of coronavirus variants

Border police officers check passports and COVID-19 tests at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Thomas Lohnes via Getty Images

Germany announced Friday that it was imposing new travel restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of more contagious coronavirus variants.

Details: All non-German residents traveling from countries deemed "areas of variant concern," including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Portugal, Ireland, Brazil, Lesotho and Eswatini, will be banned from entering the country, even if they test negative for the coronavirus.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

Ex-CDC director Tom Frieden on the next COVID-19 vaccines

Americans fortunate enough to receive COVID vaccines now, outside of clinical trials, are getting shots made by either Pfizer or Moderna. But newly released data from Novavax and Johnson & Johnson suggests that more vaccines could be on the way, with J&J's requiring a single dose.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the news and why it matters with Tom Frieden, former head of the CDC, as COVID-19 variants spread globally.