China launches COVID-19 vaccination certificates for cross-border travel

FILE PHOTO: People walk on a platform at Wuhan Railway Station following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Wuhan, Hubei province, China February 3, 2021. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

BEIJING (Reuters) - 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.

The certificate issued by China would 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 was to achieve mutual verification of information such as nucleic acid testing and vaccination, and contribute to safe and orderly interaction of people.

It was not immediately clear with which countries China was talking to about getting its COVID-19 certificate recognised.

China has not yet announced any relaxation of quarantine restrictions for people arriving in China who are vaccinated against COVID-19.

The country’s health authorities were studying issues including whether vaccinated travellers to China could be exempted from 14 days of quarantine, the state-owned Global Times reported on Tuesday, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Reporting by Roxanne Liu and Tony Munroe; Editing by Miyoung Kim, Michael Perry and Alex Richardson