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Vietnam Airlines To Pilot Digital Health Passport Travel Pass

Image credit: Vietnam Plus

The national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, in coordination with the International Air Transport Association (IATA), has announced it will start piloting the digital health application IATA Travel Pass at the beginning of June. The IATA Travel Pass is a mobile app that allows travellers to store and manage certifications for COVID-19 tests or vaccines. The app is available in iOS and Android stores.

With the project, Vietnam Airlines becomes the first airline in Vietnam to sign an agreement with IATA to pilot this application, which is considered the key to open up the border, facilitating passengers’ travel between countries, and meeting all entry requirements of authorities and governments of countries.

IATA is committed to supporting and closely coordinating with Vietnam Airlines throughout the trial period, according to news reports. The information provided through the IATA Travel Pass can be used by governments requiring testing or vaccination proof as a condition of international travel during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a secure means to manage health requirements and is much more efficient than paper processes.

The Vietnam Airlines General Director, Le Hong Ha, said that promoting digital transformation through an electronic health passport solution such as the IATA Travel Pass will help quickly restore regular international passenger transport. Senior Vice President at IATA Nick Careen emphasised that electronic health passports are the solution to international travel during the pandemic and that the IATA Travel Pass holds the key for international aviation activities to restart.

The IATA Travel Pass is being piloted by more than 30 airlines worldwide, including five-star airlines such as Singapore Airlines and Qatar Airways, and three countries have officially allowed the use of this app for entry. The app is forecast to become a global trend, helping countries be more confident in easing travel restrictions and thus rebounding their aviation industries as soon as possible. The Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam has proposed the Ministry of Transport request authorised agencies to implement this mechanism, towards accelerating the reopening of regular international flights to Vietnam.

Meanwhile, the country’s COVID-19 tracking application, Bluezone, witnessed an increase of 2.5 million installations since April, when the fourth wave broke out. As of 24 May, there were 33.06 million Bluezone downloads. Of this, more than 20.58 million people have entered their mobile phone numbers on the app. As such, the number of people providing their phone numbers to state agencies had increased by one million.

Hanoi and HCM City are leading the country in the number of Bluezone downloads, 3.1 million and 2.83 million, respectively. Meanwhile, Dien Bien (70,500 downloads), Tuyen Quang (121,000), and Yen Bai (130,000) have the lowest rate of Bluezone downloads.

However, the problem is that while the number of people who have downloaded the Bluezone app is high, the number of active accounts is low. In HCM City, the number of active Bluezone owners is 1.1 million, or 38% of total accounts. In Hanoi, which had the highest number of downloads, the number of active accounts is 1.23 million, or 40% of total accounts. Hanoi, Bac Ninh, Bac Giang, Vinh Phuc, and Da Nang authorities have urged citizens to use technological solutions, including making health declarations and installing the Bluezone app to contribute to the fight against the virus.

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