Sajid Javid hands Brits summer holiday boost with plans to use NHS app as a Covid passport to allow tourists to enter EU countries
- The app is technically compliant with the EU’s green pass system, sources said
- Paves way for easier travel to holiday favourites like Spain, Greece and Italy
- But whether to allow Bits in to EU is cause of huge EU internal dispute
- Angela Merkel pushing for EU-wide restrictions amid fears over Indian variant
Sajid Javid has handed Brits a potential summer holiday lifeline with the NHS Covid app adapted to work as a vaccine passport.
The app is technically compliant with the EU’s green pass system, paving the way for easier travel to holiday favourites like Spain, Greece, Italy and Portugal.
The UK is still in talks with Brussels about opening the pass system up to third party countries like Britain, and it is still unclear how much of the summer will be left before an agreement is reached.
Whether to allow Britons into the EU for holidays is the subject of a huge battle between EU states.
Angela Merkel has been pushing for EU-wide restrictions on Britons amid fears on the continent over the Indian, or Delta, variant. But countries more reliant on UK tourism are fighting back.
A UK source told the Telegraph today: ‘We are technically ready to be integrated into the EU database that will recognise your digital NHS signature and allow you to demonstrate your Covid status.
‘There are some glitches with private test providers struggling to register their tests quickly enough but once those are resolved, all that is required is for the EU to allow non-EU countries to be integrated.’
The app is technically compliant with the EU’s green pass system, paving the way for easier travel to holiday favourites like Spain, Greece, Italy and Portugal. Pictured is Magaluf beach in Mallorca.
Mr Javid replaced Matt Hancock as Health Secretary at the weekend after the latter quit for breaking Covid rules while having an affair with an aide
An EU source told the paper talks on integrating the app were ‘progressing well’.
On Monday both Portugal and Malta announced new quarantine-on-arrival rules for British holidaymakers.
However, they stopped short of German demands and exempted those who have received both doses of a coronavirus vaccine.
Meanwhile, both Spain and Greece said they would not even require Britons to be fully vaccinated – insisting they would welcome UK tourists simply with proof of a negative Covid test.
The German Chancellor used a summit in Brussels last week to try to strongarm fellow leaders into all imposing a 14-day quarantine for all British arrivals.
The issue is critical, with ministers here just having promised to open up foreign holidays to amber list destinations this summer – which includes most of Europe.
Greece and Spain have argued against the German proposals, with Greek tourism minister Harry Theoharis saying: ‘There is no tightening of the restrictions for the time being.’
He said his country would be ‘increasing the number of tests we are doing at the borders’, but that the plan was to continue accepting unvaccinated as well as fully inoculated UK travellers.
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