Health certificate shows way to go
One day after State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at a news conference on March 7 that China will roll out health certificates for international travelers to facilitate the safe and orderly flow of people, the certificate was officially launched on March 8 on the WeChat mini program platform.
The health certificate, which is initially only available to Chinese citizens, contains an encrypted QR code enabling verification of its authenticity and providing access to relevant health particulars of the holder, such as nucleic acid test and serum antibody results, where and when the holder was vaccinated and other relevant information, as well as an encrypted code to allow authorities to verify the holder's personal information.
Although the move does not yet mean China is easing the restrictions on inbound and outbound travel, it does mark an important step forward in that direction.
It is predicted that by June, the vaccination rate in China will reach about 40 percent. And the vaccination rate in other countries is increasing fast-92.46 percent in Israel, 60 percent in the United Arab Emirates, over 30 percent in the United Kingdom and 22 percent in the United States. Such certificates, if accepted by countries and regions, would enable cross-border and cross-boundary flows to resume and be scaled up as more people are inoculated.
The launch of the so-called health passport, the first of its kind in the world not only demonstrates China's confidence that the subduing of the virus is inevitable, but also the country's readiness to take all necessary measures to resume cross-border people-to-people exchanges in a safe and orderly way as soon as possible.
Similar to the domestic health code that has proved effective in enabling the country to balance pandemic prevention and control with reviving the economy, the international travel health certificate system, if adopted by more countries and regions, would facilitate the resumption of international travel and help stimulate a global economic recovery.
Although it requires all the participating parties to strictly apply the same standard and protect personal privacy, if it works well, the certificate system, which takes advantage of big data, can help promote mutual trust, since the system is founded on sharing and safeguarding data.
Like China's vaccines, its health certificate system is a public good so the world can better battle this common enemy. Once such health certificates are adopted by other countries it will be representing real progress toward building a community with a brighter shared future.