Get ready, get set, holidays 2021
As the people of Israel prepare to dispense with the mask, indoor or outdoor, we need to be every mindful that if history is anything to go by, this pandemic is with us for a while yet. Even as Europe and North America are rapidly rolling out the vaccine, the rest of the world lags behind.
The Spanish Flu pandemic lasted several years, and at the rate less developed countries are getting access to the vaccine, this will be the same for Covid-19.
This means we need to be prepared for being able to live with the virus, or a risk of the virus, for some time to come.
In order to do this, we will need to find a way of getting our travel industry back up and running, and so we’ll need an effective vaccine travel passport.
The Danes are using a highly effective digital passport, the ‘coronapas’, which allows their citizens to quickly log a negative antigen test result. Once they have this on their phone, they can then gain access to museums, bars, hairdressers, etc. simple and effective.
The reason it works so well is that everyone uses the same system, so it is easy to ensure that access points work.
However, when we look to international travel, there is no unified picture and the EU, the US and the UK need to take the lead in developing a unified system that can work across all jurisdictions. What we have at the moment is each country going it on their own, and there are serious questions as to how this will work in practice.
Petrol stations work really well because every single one of them has at least the same two choices – diesel or unleaded. No matter what car you drive, they all work. Even with the onset of electric cars, battery charging points haven’t been an issue.
Anyone who has tried to buy DVDs on a Spanish holiday, or tried to use their own hairdryer in a New York hotel room, will know that things get complicated when there are two different types of technology in use.
In Ireland, we still need to get to grips with antigen testing and how our own Covid-19 passport will work. The Irish Government still hasn’t confirmed whether negative test results from private testing providers will be able to be logged on the system.
If they are not, then the assumption will be that the state will be providing tests via the HSE. The logic follows that this will mean the state effectively paying for tests for people who want to jet off on foreign holidays. That might not go down too well with the hospitality sector here, but the airlines will be all for it.