Spain Ready to Roll out Vaccination Passports in May, Welcomes Back Holidaymakers
Spain could be ready to start rolling out coronavirus vaccine ‘passports’ by the end of May, paving the way to welcome back holidaymakers. Minister of tourism, María Reyes Maroto, said on Wednesday that the country ‘could be in a position to start implementing the digital passport in May’. She told Antena 3 TV that ministers plan to have the digital scheme ready for the international tourism fair, FITUR, on May 19 in Madrid. However, Ms Maroto said the rollout of the passport will depend on howmany people have been vaccinated in Spain and the level of infection rates.
She said the Spanish Government are working to be pioneers of the scheme and hope to have it ready ‘as soon as possible’, with plans to distribute the passports in spring. So far, 4.8 million people have received their first dose in Spain and 1.4 million have received their second – with the Government hoping to have 30 to 40% of the population vaccinated by April. The Covid passport, or ‘Digital Green Pass’, is one of several measures agreed by EU leaders in a bid to kick-start the hard-hit European travel industry following almost a year of restrictions.
The scheme aims to open up travel within the EU first – for people who are vaccinated or display a negative test. Greece is also expected to give holidaymakers the green light for travel from May 14 – just three days before the earliest possible date Boris Johnson said Brits will be allowed to travel abroad. Tourism minister Harry Theocharis said yesterday that if infection rates are low, Greece plans to reopen to international tourists who are vaccinated, have antibodies, or can show proof of a negative test. Mr Theocharis said details are still being finalised but all travellers will be subject to random Covid-19 testing upon entry. He said the UK demand for holidays in Greece is ‘already picking up because there’s a lot more optimism with the way the vaccination programme is progressing’.
It comes after Cyprus revealed last week that it will welcome tourists who have had both their injections from the beginning of May. The UK’s Global Travel Taskforce is carrying out a review into overseas travel and is due to present its recommendations to the prime minister on April 12. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps today said he is ‘hopeful’ people will be able to travel abroad this summer – but warned there were no ‘cast iron guarantees’. ‘We know you won’t be able to travel until May 17. I would say that it makes sense to see how the course of the pandemic unlock proceeds,’ he told Times Radio. ‘There are a lot of issues that we need to work around but I am working with international partners, both governments and organisations, to try to make it happen. We can’t provide cast iron guarantees on it,’ he added.
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