The Informer: A global COVID passport? Yeah, nah

A global COVID passport? Yeah, nah

We know how much Aussies enjoy humbly slapping themselves on the back, but when America's top infectious disease expert joins in, it's really something to behold.

Dr Anthony Fauci joined the metaphorical lovefest when he joined with Australia's Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly in an online discussion on Wednesday morning.

"When Australia shuts down, they shut down and they really do get the cases, (to) almost nothing. We've never had that in the United States," Dr Fauci told the Center for Strategic and International Studies discussion.

Professor Kelly explained that while both nations experienced their first cases in late January, Australia's response yielded better results.

"A lot of that was due to the way that the leadership at both the political level and the health level, and indeed the economic level, has been so strong in Australia. I think there was an element of luck as well," Prof Kelly said.

He also praised Aussies for following health advice.

"In my whole career, I would say I've never been in that situation where our epidemiologists and public health officials have become rock stars," Prof Kelly said.

And in a timely confirmation of such status, NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant was named the state's Woman of the Year today.

Ms Chant "celebrated" with a jab of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Sydney as NSW recorded its 52nd straight day without a local COVID-19 case.

All COVID-19 vaccines remain available solely to those identified in phase 1a and 1b of the federal government's vaccine rollout.

At least 1300 GP clinics in NSW will be accredited to administer the AstraZeneca jab when widespread vaccination takes off.

Meanwhile, one Aussie travel company has avoided being dragged through the courts after coming to the attention of the ACCC.

The consumer watchdog has told Australian Pacific Touring, which trades as APT and Travelmarvel, to repay thousands of customers who had their travel cancelled due to COVID-19.

"The costs that APT deducted for marketing and overheads amounted to 15 per cent of the booking price and, with many holidays costing over $20,000, this meant a significant amount was withheld from the refunds given to consumers," ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.

APT said it had a "different interpretation of of its terms and conditions and had now come to an agreed position. All impacted guests will be contact by the end of the month.

And while we're talking travel, China now has introduced a "vaccine passport" to allow international travel.

It is now available for citizens and runs on Chinese social media platform WeChat, according to a report by the Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua.

The certificate is being distributed in order "to promote world economic recovery and facilitate cross-border travel," a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Tuesday.

The US and some European nations have are considering creating their own version of the system in preparation for an eventual travel boom once vaccinations are commonplace. President Xi Jinping of China has called for a standardised, global system, but privacy concerns make that outcome unlikely.

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This story A global COVID passport? Yeah, nah first appeared on The Canberra Times.