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An international Digital Travel Pass could be the magic bullet to restart global tourism

The Thaiger

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An international Digital Travel Pass could be the magic bullet to restart global tourism | The Thaiger
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A new international Travel Pass, a sort of digital health certificate, may be the way forward for countries to re-open their borders and international airlines to get their planes back into the air. The International Air Transport Association says the ‘digital’ certificate will support the safe reopening of borders.

As Covid-19 testing and the results becomes more reliable and nuanced, Governments are looking to testing as a means of limiting most of risks of Covid-19 when reopening their borders. The hope is that the new Travel Pass will replace the quarantine regime imposed by many countries and the hopes that a vaccine alone will solve the problems…

“IATA is calling for systematic Covid-19 testing of all international travelers and the information flow infrastructure needed to enable this must support:

  • Governments with the means to verify the authenticity of tests and the identity of those presenting the test certificates.
  • Airlines with the ability to provide accurate information to their passengers on test requirements and verify that a passenger meets the requirements for travel.
  • Laboratories with the means to issue digital certificates to passengers that will be recognised by governments, and;
  • Travellers with accurate information on test requirements, where they can get tested or vaccinated, and the means to securely convey test information to airlines and border authorities.”

IATA is calling for systematic Covid-19 testing of all international travellers. The concept was unveiled at at IATA’s 76th Annual General Meeting on November 24, which called on governments to reopen borders to travel. Of all the industries affected by lockdowns and the slowdown of economies, the airline and travel industry have been hardest hit.

IATA says that deep losses will continue into 2021, even though the situation is expected to improve over the coming months.

A net loss of US$118.5 billion is expected for 2020, while a net loss of US$38.7 billion is expected in 2021.

Improvements are expected in the second half of 2021 after a difficult first half. Aggressive cost-cutting may combine with increased demand during 2021 to see the industry turn cash-positive in the fourth quarter of 2021, which is earlier than previously forecast, according to the IATA.

“Testing is the first key to enable international travel without quarantine measures. The second key is the global information infrastructure needed to securely manage, share and verify test data matched with travellers’ identities in compliance with border control requirements. That’s the job of the IATA Travel Pass.”

Nick Careen, IATA’s Senior Vice President, Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security, says that the main priority is to get people traveling again safely.

“In the immediate term that means giving governments confidence that systematic COVID-19 testing can work as a replacement for quarantine requirements. And that will eventually develop into a vaccine program. The IATA Travel Pass is a solution for both. And we have built it using a modular approach based on open source standards to facilitate interoperability. It can be used in combination with other providers or as a standalone end-to-end solution. The most important thing is that it is responsive to industry’s needs while enabling a competitive market.”

The IATA and International Airlines Group have been collaborating in the project and will arrange a trial to demonstrate that this pass, combined with Covid-19 testing, can reopen international travel and replace quarantines, which they say “essentially kill demand for air travel”.

The first cross-border IATA Travel Pass pilot is scheduled for later this year and the launch slated for quarter one 2021.

SOURCES: Reuters | IATA

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30 Comments

30 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Jonathan Hugo

    Monday, November 30, 2020 at 9:46 am

    This looks like an ideal blockchain application. Get to it IBM!

    • Avatar

      Preesy Chepuce

      Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at 12:24 am

      Voila…

      …so many problems with that though, regulatory, as well as technological.
      I’m not going to go biblical on you, about a chip in people’s heads being 666 and all that, but there are legitimate concerns about never being able to hide anything from a government, which may end up being like the CCP which can exclude dissidents from society economically.
      \
      I mean, it’s frankly terrifying. All those who say “I’ve got nothing to hide” when it comes to the ID card debate… just wait until you do… until you are excluded from something that matters to you because of something you said or did, or some intrinsic characteristic of you.
      Think slowly about blockchaining the world, because you might never be able to undo it…

      • Avatar

        Manu

        Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at 9:26 am

        Pressy Chepuce, You are sooooo right! It is very terrifying. This morning I read that Nadhim Zahawi, who is responsible for supervising vaccines in the UK, is looking for a similar “gadget” he calls an “immunity passport”. And he sugests that businesses (pubs, cinemas, restaurants, etc…) could be using it to let only people in that have been vaccinated… Imagine a regime like that!!?? Not vaccinated – you are out! Is there a worse way to divide a population (or to force to get vaccinated after pretending to be “democratic” by making the vaccin not compulsory)??? And won’t there be no abuse at all from a government with a tool like that – oh yes?? Have we all forgotten the revelations of Edward Snowden? Imagine a tool like this in the hands of another Hitler?

        Preesy Chepuce: “Think slowly about blockchaining the world, because you might never be able to undo it…”… Yes, that is exactly the question we all should be asking ourselves right now…

  2. Avatar

    Don R

    Monday, November 30, 2020 at 10:10 am

    And if you don’t have a smartphone?

    Think it through, professor.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Monday, November 30, 2020 at 11:08 am

      I think the point is that the information’s easily verifiable, so a printed barcode should be just as easy to verify by the same system.

      The problem to me is more what the “pass” is for.

      • Avatar

        Preesy Chepuce

        Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at 12:25 am

        Why not just put a QR code on the backs of people’s heads? Just laser off a square of hair, and bob’s your uncle – compliant consumers in service of the party.
        Brazilian bliss.

  3. Avatar

    Issan John

    Monday, November 30, 2020 at 10:52 am

    Until it’s known if the vaccines prevent transmission or not, why does it matter how good or secure the “travel pass” is since those vaccinated will still be just as likely to carry the virus and be just as contagious as those not vaccinated?

    Why does it replace the need for quarantine and testing if they could still be just as contagious, but asymptomatic?

    • Avatar

      ray

      Monday, November 30, 2020 at 10:06 pm

      I can’t follow your reasoning. I suspect there is a slim chance that the respiratory system of vaccinated people can be a source of spreading. The virus that gets into the system of 95% of vaccinated persons can’t replicate and rather be terminated.

      • Avatar

        Preesy Chepuce

        Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at 12:32 am

        It seems that John believes that nCOV-19 can surf humans and envisages a cinematographic apocalypse. Let’s just remind ourselves that Coronavirus has been around since at least the 1960s, and can’t survive soap and water. It certainly can’t replicate from it’s afterlife after being zapped by t-cells in a vaccinated prospective host. In the end, all that has to happen is that people do what they’re supposed to – wash their hands, and stop being fat.
        If you’re old, and you get it it’s just down to how well you look after yourself.
        All this whining sounds like Brexaphobes moaning about living in Tuscany for 20 years with their EU spouse, and not being able to hypothetically return to leafy suburban Surrey, whilst their sibling in Australia accepted that they never could anyway because they were choosing to emigrate to another country. EU countries are foreign countries, and equally, if you don’t make good choices for your health, there are consequences. Lefties are weird.

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at 6:13 pm

          Preesy, what’s “frankly terrifying” is the internet self-trained expert who doesn’t have a clue what they’re talking about but still bangs on as if they do.

          ‘Yes’ Covid-19 can’t “survive soap and water” … (well, actually it can but with strict limitations) but rather like bleach you can’t inject soap and water to kill the virus.

          … and ‘yes’ it “certainly can’t replicate from it’s afterlife after being zapped by t-cells in a vaccinated prospective host” but with the mRNA vaccines (unlike traditional vaccines) IT ISN’T ZAPPED BY T-CELLS IF THE VACCINE IS BASED ON MRNA.

          As yet, neither you nor I know if the mRNA based vaccines (such as those produced by Pfizer and Moderna) kill the virus or not, and their statements so far suggest very strongly that they DON’T.

          … so IF they don’t (IF) then all those particular vaccines do is improve the percentage of those who are asymptomatic if they catch the virus from around 80% to around 95%. NOTHING MORE.

          They don’t stop the virus being passed on, or stop those people being contagious if they have the virus.

          … BUT IT’S AN “IF” AS WE DON’T KNOW YET!

          As for ” In the end, all that has to happen is that people do what they’re supposed to – wash their hands, and stop being fat.
          If you’re old, and you get it it’s just down to how well you look after yourself”, what a load of absolute bollox. I tcredited you with more intelligence than that.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at 5:56 pm

        You “can’t follow [my] reasoning” because you (and Preesy C) have assumed that “The virus that gets into the system of 95% of vaccinated persons can’t replicate and rather be terminated” even though Moderna and Pfizer HAVE NEVER SUGGESTED THAT’S THE CASE!

        I don’t know, and neither do you, so I’ve siad “if” and repeated it. IF!!!

  4. Avatar

    murika

    Monday, November 30, 2020 at 4:16 pm

    the 1 % want more money, they don’t care to bring covid in thailand, they try everything they can to reopen and don’t lose more money from their hotel/casino/brothel/restaurants/private hospitals, like issan john say, an app will not stop covid to be transmitted, Thailand only chance to not get a covid wave similar to US or Mexico is to keep the border closed indefinitely, or at least until 70% of the population get vaccine (witch could take up to 4 years), get over it, the tourist industry is dead, the 1% still make tons of money with the stock market that keep rising, the small actors of the tourist industry already packed and left back to their hometown, or sold their business to the riches

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Monday, November 30, 2020 at 5:06 pm

      I’m actually pretty confident that the vaccine could be distributed in Thailand very quickly indeed, as the systems are already in place, but the hold-up will simply be supply.

      • Avatar

        murika

        Monday, November 30, 2020 at 5:50 pm

        USA booked all the doses already, then will come europe, and then thailand in many years, it take a year to make a billion dose

        • Avatar

          Preesy Chepuce

          Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at 12:33 am

          If the UK does get it first, they should be cynical with cynical places in Asia and ask for an FTA.

        • Avatar

          Michael

          Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at 3:03 am

          I heard that Europe will receive the first shipments with the vaccine in the next weeks, and they will start vaccinating on January 4.

  5. Avatar

    Johnny Dee

    Monday, November 30, 2020 at 4:17 pm

    Now the vaccines have been approved let’s get this show back on the road. Anything is better than nothing the world has to start moving again it’s been so long. Let’s all try and be positive and hopefully try and get back to some kind of normality because this has gone on for far too long. Businesses, families torn apart and not to mention the suicides.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Monday, November 30, 2020 at 5:07 pm

      Sorry, I must have missed it – what “vaccines have been approved”?

      • Avatar

        Kalims

        Monday, November 30, 2020 at 6:11 pm

        It looks like the first vaccine will be approved in America on December 10th.
        Let’s hope that it is.

      • Avatar

        L

        Thursday, December 3, 2020 at 3:04 am

        pfizer/biontech vaccine approved by the UK and we will start to be offered it from next week.

  6. Avatar

    Tom

    Monday, November 30, 2020 at 5:05 pm

    Are you still reporting that testing is actually effective? The PCR test cannot detect a live infection, this is not what it was designed for, especially at 35+ cycles that are being used which makes the test scientifically meaningless. There are several lawsuits being filed against the WHO and other scientists pushing a meaningless test that can be rigged to get a high rate of false positives.

    • Avatar

      Michael

      Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at 3:00 am

      The link you post is to a post on the conspiracy website globalresearch.ca owned by a Russian man called Michel Chossudovsky. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Chossudovsky
      The site is known to publish conspiracy theories and to help Russia to spread disinformation.
      The Thaiger should not approve posting links to conspiracy websites.

      • The Thaiger

        The Thaiger

        Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at 9:57 am

        Agreed. That one slipped through. I’ll try and track it down and delete any links.

  7. Avatar

    Johnny Dee

    Monday, November 30, 2020 at 7:03 pm

    A very good friend of mine in the medicine profession yesterday told me the vaccine has been approved and it will be published this week..she has no reason to lie about something like this so get ready guys!!!

  8. Avatar

    Brian

    Monday, November 30, 2020 at 8:24 pm

    Dystopian. There’s no need for this. If we want to open up, there’s no need for some weird new pass. Just open up. We got by for a hundred years without this thing.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at 7:40 pm

      Unbelievable.

      For “a hundred years” we didn’t have Covid-19. Now we do.

      … and for rather more than “a hundred years” we didn’t have penicillin or the internet, amongst other things, and “we got by” without them. Does that mean we should dispense with them too?

  9. Avatar

    Preesy Chepuce

    Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at 12:35 am

    What is it with this obsession with tourism? Can’t they be bothered to learn new stuff and diversify the economy?! Tourism is not going to pick up where it left off. The world is changing, and completely new strategies are needed, with smarter policies to facilitate them.

    • Avatar

      Brian

      Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at 2:16 pm

      It’s simply an ideal fit. Many Thai people are well-suited for it. There’s little harm in accommodating tourism in certain places. It’s beneficial for all parties. Government just needs to get out of the way.

  10. Avatar

    willian

    Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at 4:33 pm

    it could also be the magic bullet to get your compliance with the govt, who have yet to create the promised utopia with their policies. IE Control. Covid is all about control and nothing about health.

  11. Avatar

    Johnny Dee

    Thursday, December 3, 2020 at 4:39 pm

    For the one and only doubter that I said the vaccine was coming this week here we are now hopefully it can be used at a speed that can get things back to some kind of normality within the coming months Thankyou guys and stay safe.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

PM instructs Samut Sakhon officials to check employers are not hiring illegal workers

Maya Taylor

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PM instructs Samut Sakhon officials to check employers are not hiring illegal workers | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Prachathai

With the number of Covid-19 infections among migrant workers in Samut Sakhon failing to go down, the PM has instructed officials to make sure companies are not still hiring illegal workers. Prayut Chan-o-cha spoke to deputy governor Surasak Pholyangsong by video conference from Government House yesterday.

The central province of Samut Sakhon is considered the epicentre of Thailand’s second wave of Covid-19, following an outbreak at a fish market last month. The resurgence is linked to migrant workers who were smuggled into the Kingdom illegally, bypassing health checks and the mandatory quarantine requirement. Samut Sakhon’s own governor, Veerasak Vijitsaengsri, has tested positive for the virus and remains under hospital care.

According to a Bangkok Post report, the PM has acknowledged the work carried out by provincial officials since then, which includes active tracing and testing, health screening, closing “high-risk” venues and preparing field hospitals for quarantine and treatment. In yesterday’s call, he instructed Surasak to ramp up travel restrictions within the province and implement measures to prevent more illegal migrants from entering.

Although Surasak has announced the re-opening of the seafood market on January 27, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul has sounded a note of caution, saying officials must guarantee that the facility is completely Covid-free. He adds that once the situation improves in the 28 “strictly controlled” areas, restrictions can be eased.

The government’s Covid-19 task force continues to monitor the situation in neighbouring countries, noting with concern the escalating cases in places like Malaysia. The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration is calling on all Thai citizens living near border areas to be vigilant and check for illegal border crossings. All migrant workers are required to undergo Covid-19 tests and provide details of their travel history.

In other news, the president of the Association of Entertainment Professionals is pleading for government assistance on behalf of entertainment venues and business operators affected by Covid-19 restrictions and closure orders. Khathawut Thongthai has called on Natthaphol Nakpanich, secretary-general of the National Security Council, to provide debt relief and soft loans. He is also requesting permission for venues in provinces that have gone 28 days without a local case to be allowed to re-open and for concerts to be given the go-ahead in these provinces.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Tourism

Record number of tourism firms quitting Covid-ravaged sector for good

Maya Taylor

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Record number of tourism firms quitting Covid-ravaged sector for good | The Thaiger
PHOTO: MGN

As the devastating economic effects of Covid-19 restrictions persist, a record number of Thai tourism operators are quitting the sector for good. The number of tourism firms surrendering their licences peaked last month, and around 70% of outbound agents have shut up shop indefinitely. The final nail in their collective coffin has been the Covid-19 resurgence, which originated in a seafood market in the central province of Samut Sakhon and has now spread to over 60 provinces.

The president of the Thai Travel Agents Association says around 10% of outbound tour operators have returned their licences to the Tourism Department. Suthiphong Pheunphiphop says 2,598 tourism operators have left the sector for good, unable to survive having no international tourists for nearly a year now. He says the last quarter of 2020 saw the highest number of companies de-registering, at 765. Of those, 293 quit last month.

Suthiphong says domestic tourism may pick up again by April, but this depends on how effective the government is at bringing the second wave of the virus under control. He adds that with the arrival of spring in many parts of the world in the coming months, global infections may fall, but it’s still a waiting game.

“Operators have to wait and see how things turn out in June The outlook for the outbound market is the most difficult to predict as the industry faces highly uncertain factors such as vaccine efficacy and policies in each destination to allow the flow of tourists.”

The TTAA says that in 2019, 11 million Thai tourists spent 430 billion baht on overseas trips. Last year, that plummeted to 1 million spending 50 billion baht. The association has postponed the Thai International Travel Fair, which was due to take place in February. It is now scheduled for August 26 – 29.

According to a Bangkok Post report, the Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn will meet Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin this week, in order to discuss a co-payment scheme to protect those employed in the tourism industry. It’s understood the proposal is to subsidise 50% of monthly salaries, up to a maximum of 7,500 baht per employee.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thai FDA expected to approve AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai FDA expected to approve AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use | The Thaiger
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In the midst of a new wave of Covid-19 infections, the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine is expected to be approved for emergency use and injections could begin next month, starting with vulnerable groups who are in the 5 coastal provinces under maximum control to contain the coronavirus.

The Food and Drug Administration us expected to approve the vaccine for emergency use this week. The FDA is examining documents as part of the registration process and to declare the vaccine’s efficacy and safety, according to the Ministry of Public Health’s Disease Control Department director general Opas Karnkawinpong.

Thailand had earlier secured 26 million doses of the vaccine, which is developed by British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and the UK’s Oxford University. The Thai company Siam Bioscience is set to produce the AstraZeneca vaccine. Injections for the general public are projected to start in the second half of 2021.

Since the latest wave of coronavirus infections, starting with the outbreak at a Samut Sakhon seafood market last month, Thailand also secured 2 million doses of China’s Sinovac BioTech vaccine. The first batch of 200,000 doses is expected to arrive next month. 800,000 more doses will arrive in March and 1 million doses in April.

“At risk” groups in the 5 coastal provinces with maximum disease control measures will receive the vaccine first. Those provinces are Samut Sakhon, Chon Buri, Rayong, Chanthaburi and Trat. People over 60 years old and those with chronic illnesses are given top priority.

With reports in Norway of elderly, highly frail recipients dying sometime after getting the Pfizer-BioTech vaccine, Thai health officials are insisting that only vaccines that are proven will be safe will be administered to Thai people.

Opas says that after vaccination, the health officials will follow up with recipients at least 4 weeks after injection to record and investigate any allergic reactions or complications.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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