The U.K. Planning To Create Immunity Passports In The Next 12 Months

(Photo : REUTERS/Jorge Silva)
A chinese student living in Thailand wears protective suit as a measure of protection against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as he poses with a passport at the Suvarnabhumi Airport before boarding a repatriation flight, in Bangkok, Thailand April 21, 2020

The United Kingdom is planning to roll out COVID-19 immunity passports. Currently, there are five companies that are pitching for how the system could work.



U.K. Has Plans For How To Deal With COVID-19

The U.K. government could possibly implement COVID-19 immunity passports within the next 12 months. Prime Minister Bori Johnson is trying to find a way to end the country's quarantine, and this is one of the ways to do it.
The U.K. officials have had talks with I.D. verification startups in recent months for the sole reason to figure out how people who can be recovered from the virus to show proof that they are immune to the virus and can resume a sense of norm in their lives outside of the lockdown. The United States has also been talking about it, but the U.K. is leading the way.

What The Pass Could Do In Theory

Once people test negative in COVID-19, they are given more freedom in the lockdown. They will be able to visit shops, offices or even friends and relatives.
For this to work, this would require massive work and tandem by combining official documents, like passports, driving licenses, facial recognition, QRcodes, as well as test results.
NHSX, which is the innovation arm of the U.K.'s health service, has published the first batch of preliminary proposals by private companies pitching their ideas to the Uk's Science and Technology Committee.
The companies who have proposed their ideas are OnfidoYoti and OCLIDnow, and iDenfy. All of which are the best of the best.


What Do The Companies Have In Common?

Starting off with the similarities, the companies who offered their proposals are to combine a number of tracking and identification methods to make it work.
Those include facial recognition, government documents, Q.R. codes, and individuals' access to certain places like shops and offices.
The companies also all seem to agree about one thing when a person can get immune to the disease. CEO Husayn Kassai of Onfido has said: "Of course, I realize we have yet to establish how long someone can be immune to the disease for," they would need more information towards the coronavirus and immunity to establish results that would be effective of the immunity passport. 
IDnow has said that the immunity passports won't come out until 2021. IDnow is one of the startups who previously held talks with the U.K. government as well. 
Roger Tyrzyk, head of sales for IDnow's U.K. branch said: "I think it's realistic to think we might not see these rolled out for another year...So we will need to have good evidence of the general rate of reinfection before we can confidently describe someone as 'immune',"
Yoti, the London based I.D. verification startup, agreed to oversee all COVID-19 test results for the top Colombian soccer league. 

CEO Robin Tombs warned about the term "immunity," as per his words: "Scientists are still trying to figure out exactly how 'immune' a person is once they've recovered from the disease...Our discussions focused more on being able to tell when an individual had most recently been tested, for example, if you had negative results confirmed a day or two ago, rather than proving you're absolutely immune." 

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