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UK Heathrow Airport: Digital health checks are essential for travel recovery

British Heathrow Airport said today, Wednesday, that digital medical checks will be necessary to recover international travel from the Covid-19 pandemic, after the decline in passenger numbers, which incurred a loss of 2 billion pounds ($ 2.8 billion) last year.

On Monday, the British government said that travel abroad could resume in mid-May as vaccination campaigns began to bear fruit, causing holiday reservations to spike.

The government is considering issuing digital health passports or an application that helps ease restrictions, while recognizing the need to compare the benefits and potential risks to civil liberties.

But John Holland-Kay, chief executive of Heathrow, said digital technology and international agreements would be essential to revitalize the travel sector, which is on the verge of collapse.

"It is definitely necessary and it is one of the basic things that the government should work on," he added in response to his question about a digital health application.

It takes 20 minutes for each passenger on Heathrow to check the results of the COVID-19 detection tests and traveler locator forms, making it nearly impossible to travel in the event that the number of passengers increases from their current low levels.

Britain's largest airport said it was "very likely" that people would be able to travel for their summer vacations, but he expected the recovery of passenger numbers to take time.

The airport in western London expects to receive 25 million passengers in the second half of the year, which means that it will operate at nearly half its capacity.

Heathrow airport, which is owned by Spain's Verbiyal, the Qatar Investment Authority, the China Investment Corporation and others, lost the title of Europe's busiest airport last year to Paris after its flight schedule shrank more than its competitors.

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