Speaking during the G20 summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping promoted the idea of introducing globally-recognized health QR codes, saying it would help to restore coronavirus-hit international trade and travel.
“While containing the virus, we need to restore the secure and smooth operation of global industrial and supply chains,” China’s leader told the virtual G20 summit late on Saturday, while advocating the need to “reduce tariffs and barriers” and “liberalize” the trade of crucial medical supplies.
He also called for the creation of mechanisms that would simplify the “orderly flow” of people in the coronavirus-battered world. They could come in the form of QR codes containing people’s health information, Xi said.
China has proposed a global mechanism on the mutual recognition of health certificates based on nucleic acid test results in the form of internationally accepted QR codes. We hope more countries will join this mechanism.
QR codes of this type are already in active use in China, where internal travel has become largely dependent on them and the corresponding “health apps.” Instruments to track people’s movement, including mobile applications and QR codes, have been implemented amid the coronavirus pandemic by other nations as well, though no global system has emerged yet.
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An attempt to introduce a “global” QR code-based system, supposedly designed to restore global travel, has already been made by the World Economic Forum (WEF). The group has actively promoted the ‘CovidPass’ application, advertised as a highly-secure “health passport.”
Attempts to introduce ‘health passports’ or otherwise ‘supervise’ people’s ability to move, work, or take part in certain events depending upon their coronavirus status, have come under widespread criticism.
Most recently, former UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt suggested the introduction of a “freedom pass” that would remove the requirement to follow regulations for those who test negative for coronavirus. The suggestion was immediately branded an “enslavement pass” on Twitter, while some went as far as accusing Hunt of promoting “fascism.”
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