International travel this summer ‘will be challenging’

National clinical director says officials are working on a 'digital solution' but says we 'dont want to burst what we've achieved'.

International travel this summer ‘will be challenging’ PA Media
Summer holidays in destinations like Tenerife might not be possible this year.

Foreign summer holidays this year will be challenging, Scotland’s national clinical director has said.

Officials in Scotland are currently working on a “digital solution” to how to prove who has been tested and vaccinated against coronavirus, and how that could potentially assist the reopening of society.

Professor Jason Leitch said the question of what such “Covid certification” would allow you to do is one for politicians and policy makers, and airlines.

He said there have been high levels of cases recently in countries such as India, Estonia, Hungary and Bulgaria, and he warned “we’ve got to be careful, we don’t want to burst what we’ve achieved”.

He told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme on Friday: “I think international leisure travel in the summer will be challenging.

“I’m hopeful that some of it might exist, I would like to go, I’m hopeful that bits of that will exist, I think it will be gradual, I don’t think it will be suddenly we’re all back to normal, all bets are off, we can all go to the beach.

“I think there will be time and countries that we bring back gradually because it’s crucial both for individuals and society but it’s also crucial for the industries that rely on that travel, the airlines, the travel industry more broadly.”

Professor Leitch said Covid certification could include information about things such as a person’s test status, whether they have been vaccinated, if they have undergone antibody testing or have had Covid-19, as well as details about where they live.

He said: “That kind of Covid certification I think will become something that the world needs and the WHO (World Health Organisation) are looking at that even as we speak.

“Remember how quickly we did the vaccination programme, we went from zero to tens of thousands in days and have continued that process, another 50,000 done yesterday, so in parallel with that process and so as not to delay it, we’re also working on a digital solution to who’s been tested, who’s been vaccinated.

“But the more important question is almost what does that mean, and that’s not really for clinical advisers, that’s really more for policy leaders and politicians about what it will allow you to do, and the private sector, the airlines and others, about who will make choices about who they allow on their planes and who they allow into their institutions.”