BY BURZIL DUBE
The requirement of a Covid-19 vaccination certificate from travellers is gradually gathering momentum among European countries and it is a matter of time before this practice is embraced globally.
Yours truly recently hinted in this particular column that some developed countries were in the process of coming up with an electronic version of a Covid-19 certificate or passport mainly targeted at international visitors.
However, this is fast becoming a reality.
This would not only be limited to international travellers, but to all and sundry as the Covid-19 pandemic does not specifically target intercontinental visitors.
However, it is now clear as a bell that tourists would be the most affected as hotel and lodge operators depend on both local and foreign visitors who in turn must provide official documentation showing their vaccination status.
The current position being taken by most countries is that one has to produce documentation corroborating that Covid-19 tests were conducted within an officially specified departure time frame.
On closer analysis, this practice is not different from the mooted Covid-19 certificate or passport and the only change is that for the first document, one has to pay through the nose while the other is free of charge.
Israel has already opened bars and restaurants to only those who would have been provided with a “green pass”, being proof that one would have been vaccinated against the virus.
The country has also accepted those with the so-called green pass to enter gyms, swimming pools and other related social amenities.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has always advocated for implementation of such a travel document that could prove handy on containing this pandemic whose ripple effects seem to have affected all sectors of the economy.
IATA is a global organisation which supports aviation with global standards for airline security, safety, efficiency and sustainability.
The travelling and touring industry has been the most affected as retrenchments and company closures have been the order of the day with no end in sight.
The days of the Yellow Fever vaccination certificate are certainly back and those familiar with this exercise can bear witness that some countries in the past only allowed foreign visitors who would have been inoculated against the disease.
According to medical fundis, yellow fever is caused by a virus usually spread through mosquito bites and symptomsof the disease include fever, headache, backache and muscle aches. Some of the serious illness associated with this disease include bleeding, shock and organ failure, and this may result in death.
Upon being vaccinated, one is provided with a “yellow card” that is known universally as an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis.
All this was meant to curtail the disease from spreading as well as importing it via human travel because there is a difference between a manageable virus and a full-blown pandemic.
The same is also happening with Covid-19 as various governments are trying by all means to ensure that travellers are not at risk of spreading the virus which of late has been mutating at an alarming rate.
It is yours truly’s fervent hope that such vaccination requirements do not in future encompass intercity movement as there could be gnashing of teeth among thousands of would-be travellers.
The government has of late been on a crusade of trying to encourage that locals embrace the Chinese-manufactured Sinopharm vaccine whose first delivery batch was targeted at frontline workers.
There has been a low vaccination uptake of the whole exercise and fears abound that the second stage which encompasses those employed in other economic sectors might be a pipedream as scepticism continues to take centre stage.
I am neither a soothsayer nor a clairvoyant of some sort, but a travel and touring fanatic.
There have been fears that personal privacy would be at stake as one’s health background would be available to the public which is rather a violation of one’s human rights.
Time is nigh to heed government’s Covid-19 vaccination.
After all is said and done, the onus is upon the travelling public to join hands with the rest of the world on efforts to contain the virus whose effects have brought many industries to their proverbial knees.
Till we meet again in the next column.
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