The vaccine passport subject to controversy

The World Health Organization has mandated a group of experts to create the standards, and several airlines have already announced that without it, we will not be able to board their planes. The digital vaccination record, more commonly known as the vaccination passport, has no shortage of supporters. While many fear that it will restrict freedoms, the tourism industry instead sees this form of health pass as a savior capable of reviving a sector exhausted by the pandemic. In this scenario, the new border would be traced by a vaccination passport, as proof of the injections received in return for the authorization to move. The fight against the spread of the virus has resulted in a significant reduction in short and long distance travel. Europeans no longer have the right to leave the Old Continent. Neither do the Americans of theirs. And even less the Asians who favor domestic travel. That is to say millions of potential tourists less for Morocco. A country where the added value of the sector, which weighs 6.2% of GDP, experienced a collapse of nearly 55.8% in 2020 against an increase of 3.7% a year earlier. Disturbing. Especially since the curve is not likely to be reversed anytime soon. In the first half of last year, tourist arrivals fell 63% to less than 2 million tourists against 5.4 million at the end of June 2019. Worldwide, the situation is no less worrying. The tourism sector lost 1.3 trillion dollars in 2020, according to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) which predicts in the best case, a return to normal in 2024. Unless you have a way to revive the machine. At the end of the day, the relentless lobbying of tourism companies for a health passport is hardly surprising. Starting with the Secretary General of the UNWTO. “Almost 80% of countries have closed their borders by imposing different types of restrictions (…), the vaccine passport is the ideal document not only to travel from this summer but also to escape a period of quarantine once arrived at destination, ”said Zurab Pololikashvili, also Georgian Ambassador to Morocco. Same story with the International Air Transport Association. And for good reason, the sector faced last year a loss of income of more than 410 billion euros. A member of IATA, Royal Air Maroc will find it difficult to go against the will of the international association. For now, negative PCR tests are in force. That said, last November, the Minister of Health, Khalid Aït Taleb, did not hesitate to put his feet in the dish. “It will not be possible to travel without a Covid passport”, he warned. But since then, the hypothesis of a vaccination passport would have turned into a vaccination certificate. In any case, for the moment, it is difficult to say with certainty the path that the Moroccan government will take. Will it follow in the footsteps of China for example? The Middle Empire has set up a system based on the technology of the QR Code, synonymous for those vaccinated with freedom travel and movement. In Europe, some countries are on the verge of taking the plunge. Greece signed a bilateral agreement with its neighbor Israel on February 8. The agreement provides for freedom for the citizens of the two states, to travel from one country to another without restriction from the moment they have been vaccinated. But with the exception of the countries of the South, dependent on tourism, the subject is not unanimous. EU are not against the idea of ​​a vaccination certificate, but differences persist. t to the mention of a vaccination passport. Divergences animated in France by the fear of a debate which drifts on the obligatory character of the vaccination. At the same time, there is an alternative solution: the dematerialized health document. To put it simply, it is no longer a question of making entry or exit of the territory conditional on proof of the vaccine carried out, but rather of centralizing on the same medium the result of a PCR test, or even a serological test, or proof of a compelling reason for travel. Of course, this type of document does not risk overshadowing the vaccination passport, but at the very least, it will have the advantage of making traffic in airports more fluid and reducing the processing times for each passenger.