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European Union leaders discussed the vaccine passport issue, but they have not yet come up with a unified plan.

As China has basically contained the virus and the speedy rolling out of vaccination in countries around the world is anticipated to help them control the epidemic, several Chinese lawmakers and political advisors said they will propose the issuance of digital vaccine travel certificates or “vaccine passports” in this year’s two sessions to help people get life back to normal. 

“China could encourage the public to voluntarily get vaccinated and gradually issue a new passport for those who have been vaccinated,” Zhu Zhengfu, a prominent Chinese lawyer and a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

Business and travel visas could be issued to people with vaccine passports if they want to go to countries and regions where the COVID-19 epidemic has been effectively curbed, Zhu said. 

He also suggested that international arrivals could be exempted from the requirement of 14-day quarantine if they have a negative nucleic acid test report and the vaccine passport, while people in China can travel freely within the country free from nucleic acid testing if they have the vaccine passports.

Zhu also suggested the country promote the mutual recognition of the vaccine passports in the world, to boost international tourism and economic exchanges.

Zhu’s proposal was echoed by Witman Hung Wai-man, a Hong Kong-based deputy to the National People’s Congress, who suggested the central government set up a vaccine passport recognized by both the mainland and Hong Kong. With the passport, Hong Kong residents who have been vaccinated with domestic vaccines or foreign-produced vaccines recognized by China and have a negative nucleic acid test report will not need to get quarantined when they enter the mainland.

European Union leaders discussed the vaccine passport issue via a virtual meeting on Thursday and Friday to decide whether EU-wide travel would be allowed this summer. But they have not come up with a unified plan, as the leaders of the 27 countries were divided.

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