The UK Government has already ordered 3.5 million Corona Test kits, to allow self-testing of whether people have already had the Corona Virus and have developed the IMG/IGG antibodies, that hopefully indicate immunity to re-infection. At the moment nobody can be 100% sure such immunity does exist, but all experts believe this is likely to be the case.
The Government will need to support these test, with a formal and centralised registry, that issues “Corona Clear Certificates” and this may require positive tests to be ratified in a similar way to passports, by teachers or qualified accountants etc, since medically trained staff are likely to remain fully deployed elsewhere.
These certificates will initially be vital for identifying the element of the population that already have had the disease and have enough immunity to allow them back to work. It’s obviously vital to get the economy moving again, with most experts hopeful that this can occur after the peak of infections has passed and some semblance of control has returned to the NHS.
However, the travel industry needs to accept that opening boarders to allow leisure travel is likely to remain a relatively low priority for most countries.
Boarder where originally shut down as part of the “containment” stage, where Governments try to restrict the entry of the virus into their countries, from other infected countries.
Once the virus has got a hold in a country, it is then “locked down” to try to smooth out the peak of infections, to allow medical services like the NHS to cope.
Some travel observers have predicted the opening of boarders as soon as the peak has passed, as the closure does little to slow the spread of the disease at this stage, compared to the banning of mass gathering or local gatherings in pubs etc.
I personally think there will be a much longer delay as international Governments are likely to insist on an accredited “Corona Clear Certificate” for foreign visitors, before they will be allowed entry to the country. These certificates will be used in conjunction with passports, but are likely to be issued via electronic means, so they can be scanned from mobile phones.
These certificates are also likely to form part of airlines APIS systems, since like Visa’s the airlines will be made responsible for checking customers have the required paper work to enter a country, before boarding.
Therefore, the industry via ABTA and other trade bodies needs to be lobbying hard to make sure they are included in any Corona Clear Certificate planning, so that all airlines and travel companies can adjust their systems during the quite shut down period, long before the first buds of travel start to blossom again.
I remain optimistic that the good times will return to travel, but feel that we need to take our destiny into our own hands and actively work on the removal of any potential barrier to the resumption of travel now.