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China launches COVID-19 vaccine passport for cross-border travel

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China has launched a digital COVID-19 vaccination certificate for its citizens planning cross-border travels, joining other countries issuing similar documents as they seek ways to reopen their economies.

As vaccines are globally being rolled out, a few countries including Bahrain have already introduced certificates identifying vaccinated people, and the European Union agreed to develop vaccine passports under pressure from tourism-dependent southern countries.

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The certificate issued by China will have details about the holder’s COVID-19 vaccination information and coronavirus test results, the Department of Consular Affairs under China’s foreign ministry said on its website.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Sunday the aim of the certificate is to achieve mutual verification of information such as nucleic acid testing and vaccination, and contribute to safe and orderly interaction of people.

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It is not immediately clear with which countries China is talking to get its COVID-19 certificate recognised.

China also has yet announced any relaxation of quarantine restrictions for people arriving in China who are vaccinated against COVID-19.

Existing quarantine requirements should remain in place for people arriving in China, as it is possible that vaccinated people can still be infected by the virus, a spokesman with China’s National Health Commission said in February.

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