United Airlines set to trial global health app in attempt to open up international borders

©United Airlines

United Airlines has announced that it will be trialing a digital health pass on a flight between London Heathrow and Newark Liberty International, New Jersey, on October 21.

The digital health pass aims to set a common international standard for COVID-19 test results, together with future vaccine records, in an attempt to encourage countries worldwide to open up their borders again to international travelers. The nonprofit initiative, known as CommonPass, is supported by the World Economic Forum and The Common Project, a Swiss-based foundation.

“The goal of these trials is to demonstrate to governments that they can rely on someone getting tested in one country and present their credentials in another country,” Paul Meyer, chief executive of The Commons Project, told Reuters news agency.

Volunteers on the United flight will be observed by the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and they will upload COVID-19 test results from a certified lab to their smartphones and complete any required health screening questions to generate a verified QR (quick response) code that airline staff and border officials can scan. They will present the code, which can be printed for passengers without mobile devices, before departing and on arrival. The labs would verify a person’s identity for the app, which is designed to protect personal data and privacy, said Meyer, who is in a dialogue with airlines and countries across the globe for the project. “The model only works if countries agree to trust health data from other countries,” he added.

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