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Vaccine passport app might not be ready in time for May 17 holidays, No10 admits

The NHS Covid-19 app might not be ready in time to use as a vaccine passport for holidays, No10 has admitted.

Officials had been looking at converting the app, downloaded more than 20million times, to show people’s jab status when travelling abroad from May 17.

That will be crucial as many countries – including those in the EU – are set to ask holidaymakers for proof they’ve had both doses of a Covid vaccine.

But despite plans to resume foreign leisure travel in 13 days’ time, Downing Street could not say today how people will show their vaccine status.

Boris Johnson’s official spokesman suggested staff are looking at alternatives and “another approach” might be needed.

He said: “We’ll be able to confirm ahead of the 17th at the earliest exactly what measures are used for those initial countries that are available for travel, be it the app or another approach.”

The ban on foreign holidays will lift on May 17 – but only a few countries will be on the green list

He added: “There are other routes to achieving the same end goal.

“We are working on the app at the moment at pace to have it ready and will be able to confirm ahead of the 17th at the earliest what approach we’ll be using.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps had said the app – which is currently used to book medical appointments and order repeat prescriptions – will display evidence that someone has been vaccinated or recently tested.

But the Prime Minister’s official spokesman indicated that officials were working on alternative plans.

Reports two weeks ago claimed the app – which was itself delayed by months last year – was still “months” away from being ready.

The EU plans to let in anyone who’s had both doses of a vaccine for tourism. And Brits who’ve not been fully vaccinated will likely be allowed in too, if the UK is added to a soon-to-be-expanded ‘safe’ list run by Brussels.

But only a handful of countries will be on the UK’s own “green list” for foreign travel when it is first published this Friday.

Spain, France and Greece are all tipped to be denied green-list status, meaning Brits returning from there would have to quarantine when they get back home.

Countries’ statuses are set to be reviewed every three weeks and could move to other lists – including a “green watchlist” of countries where the situation is deteriorating.


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