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NHS app to become your Covid passport: How will it work?

Matt Hancock in talks with Apple and Google to improve NHS app

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The NHS app will be used as a coronavirus vaccine passport to help enable foreign travel, according to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps. He said many people already use the app for important health services and now its function will be extended and the app legitimised to enable it to act as proof for travel abroad.

The Transport Secretary has confirmed the NHS app may be used as a coronavirus passport for international travel.

Currently, international travel is scheduled to be permitted from the next step of lockdown easing on May 17.

Mr Shapps has confirmed the data “continues to look good” and on track for travel to resume.

As part of the plans, a new traffic light system would be put into force, categorising each country based on Covid health metrics, vaccination data and infection rates.

Countries will be categorised as either green, amber or red.

There will be tighter restrictions for each country depending on its colour rating.

Speaking about the timeline and dates for reopening, Mr Shapps told Sky News: “The earliest possible unlock is May 17, so stage three of the unlock, we won’t have international travel before that.

“I have to say that so far the data does continue to look good from a UK perspective, notwithstanding those concerns about where people might be travelling to and making sure we’re protected from the disease being reimported.

“I will set out towards the beginning of May which countries fall into the various different categories.”

The NHS App can currently be used for the following:

  • Advice about coronavirus
  • Order repeat prescriptions
  • Book doctor appointments
  • Get health advice
  • View your medical record
  • Register your organ donation decision
  • Find out how the NHS uses your data.

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The NHS app will soon become a health certificate for international travel.

Mr Shapps is working to get international recognition for the app so it can be used for international travellers.

The European Union previously outlined a plan for Digital Green Certificates which will help facilitate the safe free movement of citizens within the EU during the Covid pandemic.

The Digital Green Certificate will be digital proof that a person has either:

  • Been vaccinated against COVID-19
  • Received a negative test result or
  • Recovered from COVID-19.

These certificates will be in digital or paper format, with a QR code, be free of charge and valid in all EU countries.

The Transport Secretary confirmed Britons will be able to demonstrate if they have had a Covid jab or tested negative before travelling abroad.

Mr Shapps said: “It will be the NHS app that is used for people when they book appointments with the NHS and so on, to be able to show you’ve had a vaccine or that you’ve had testing.

“I’m working internationally with partners across the world to make sure that system can be internationally recognised.”

Government insiders said the app would not be the NHS Covid app, currently used to “check-in” at venues such as pubs and restaurants to help contact tracers reach people when required.

The NHS app will also be open for those wanting to book general appointments.

More details of the passport have yet to be revealed, but presumably, it will be linked to one’s NHS profile and number.

The Transport Secretary said Britons needed to proceed with planned trips abroad cautiously.

Other coronavirus variants, such as the one currently causing the rate of infection to surge in India, are of increasing concern.

Mr Shapps confirmed individuals hoping to travel will still be required to take a pre-departure test and one test upon their return.

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