COVID-19 Passport Trials Starts at Heathrow

Airport in London

Starting from this week coronavirus passport trials will be taking place at Heathrow. It is to test the technology so people can travel around the world without the quarantine restriction.

However, passengers on United Airlines and Cathay Pacific are trying out an app called the CommonPass.

This app is a digital health pass which can hold a certified COVID-19 test status. It can also show if someone has been vaccinated in the future in a way designed to satisfy various governments’ different regulations.

However, it is by the non-profit trust Commons Project Foundation, part of the World Economic Forum. It is to help the passengers get rid of the papers and show the results. And required information in the app.

Testing the App

The tech is very much at the trial stage using volunteers on flights between London, New York, Hong Kong. And Singapore under government observation.

However, it is reliant on Governments around the world accepting test results from ‘certified’ laboratories in other countries. And allowing those with negative results to enter freely on their say-so.

Dr. Bradley Perkins, chief medical officer of The Commons Project, said, “Without the ability to trust COVID-19 tests. And eventually vaccine records – across international borders, many countries will feel compelled to retain full travel bans. And mandatory quarantines for as long as the pandemic persists.”

“With trusted individual health data, countries can implement more nuanced health screening requirements for entry.”

The aviation industry had hoped trials of new systems designed to cut travel quarantine times could begin as soon as tomorrow.

Launching a Taskforce

But Government sources said ministers are instead launching a ‘taskforce’ to study the subject. Whereas delaying hopes of action for weeks.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said today, “I will be making the announcement later today to Parliament. But it involves a task force.”

“So looking at the systems which would enable us to have testing.”

The pass works by passengers taking a test at a certified lab before uploading it to their phone. It generates a QR code that the airline staff and border officials can scan. 

David Evans, Joint CEO of traveler pass company Collinson, says the app could be a gamechanger.

He added, “As we come to grips with living with COVID-19. Testing is the safest scientific method to reopen countries and borders.”

“However, as each country looks to find the right solution to protect its citizens. We know that the ability to demonstrate the validity of testing done upon arrival or before departure is key to reopening borders.”

“The Collinson and Swissport dedicated COVID-19 testing facility at Heathrow will support the CommonPass’ trial by testing United Airlines and Cathay Pacific Airways volunteers.”

Heathrow’s Process Improvement Director Mark Burgess said, “For some time now, Heathrow has been calling for the creation of a Common International Standard and cross-border pilots such as these could help governments across the world and the industry to unlock the benefits of testing in aviation.”

“We’re looking forward to reviewing the findings of these trials and using the learnings to support the recovery of an industry that provides so many jobs and economic opportunities globally.” 

CommonPass says it adheres to tight privacy principles and is designed to protect personal data in compliance with relevant privacy regulations, including GDPR.

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