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Immunity Passports in the Time of COVID-19

Will you need an immunity passport to Travel?

Faced with deep recession, governments around the world are considering the use of immunity passports to allow a degree of normality to return. Chile may be one of the first countries to put such a scheme into action. But the idea is proving controversial. Inaccurate and insufficient testing could hamper ability to monitor immunity.

Weeks into lockdown and with economic indicators signaling a deep global recession, governments around the world are searching for ways to get their countries back up and running. But emerging from a cocooned state could risk a second spike of coronavirus infections as people start mixing once more.

Among the measures being considered by governments including Chile, Germany, Italy, Britain and the US are immunity passports – a form of documentation given to those who have recovered from COVID-19.

In Chile, which looks set to become the first country to put such a scheme into action, the so-called “release certificate” would free holders from all types of quarantine or restriction, Chilean Health Minister Jaime Mañalich said in April.

But the idea has proved contentious, with the World Health Organization (WHO) among those voicing criticism. The root of the concern for many is the unknown degree to which past infection confers future immunity. Until it is understood whether or not people can be reinfected with the disease, and how long any immunity lasts for, the move may be premature.

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