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Russia mulls ‘Covid passports’ to let people with some immunity travel more easily. | Press "Enter" to skip to content

Russia mulls ‘Covid passports’ to let people with some immunity travel more easily.

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The Russian government is considering issuing coronavirus health certificates that could ease travel and commerce for people who have been vaccinated or who have antibodies from surviving the disease, while sharply limiting the liberties of others — an idea that has also been floated in the European Union and by private companies.

Proponents say that such documents, often called Covid passports, could ease airline travel and hasten the reopening of theaters, cruise lines and other settings where people congregate.

Opponents fear a dystopic system that would limit the rights of people who have been careful to avoid infection and are unable or unwilling to be vaccinated. Russia has a grim history rooted in the Soviet era of controlling citizens’ movements, through a residency permit system that was never fully abolished.

Internationally, airlines have already tested electronic certificates showing negative test results for passengers. Those systems could be expanded to show the status of those with some immunity.

The head of the Russian Parliament’s committee on public health, Dmitri Morozov, said on Tuesday that a Covid passport was “very important and needed.”

Collecting people’s Covid health status in a government system, he said, could also provide important data for public health officials. “This is great, this is the new world,” he said. Mr. Morozov did not specify what kinds of information a Covid passport would display.

A regional governor in Russia, Radi Khabirov, proposed on Monday that Covid passport holders receive discounts at stores, as an incentive for people to obtain the certificate.

President Vladimir V. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, said on Tuesday that the government is considering issuing Covid passports, perhaps in digital form, but that Russia wanted to coordinate with other countries to agree on standards for them.


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