Vaccine passports: Can they save travel? Should they?
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The launch of China's International Travel Health Certificate on March 8 was music to the ears of frequent travelers like Victor, a 30-year-old financier based in Hong Kong. "I'm healthy, I'm protected and I'm also safe to be around," he said. "I want to be able to travel freely around the world like before."
"Hopefully, with the vaccine passport, I will be exempted from the unnecessary tests and quarantine," he said.
But the reality so far has been disappointing. A Shanghai native who was inoculated with one of the Chinese vaccines last month, Victor found to his dismay that even with the travel certificate, he would still have to undergo two weeks of quarantine in a state facility with twice-daily COVID-19 testing were he to travel home to China's mainland. While the health certificate helps simplify the process of obtaining a visa (for foreigners), vaccinated travelers must endure the same precautions as anyone traveling to China.
As for quarantine-free international travel, this remains off-limits for the foreseeable future.