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Singapore, New Zealand discuss possible mutual recognition of digital health, COVID-19 vaccination certificates

Singapore, New Zealand discuss possible mutual recognition of digital health, COVID-19 vaccination certificates

Singapore Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan spoke with his New Zealand counterpart Nanaia Mahuta in a virtual meeting on Mar 18, 2021. (Photo: Facebook/Vivian Balakrishnan)

SINGAPORE: The foreign ministers of Singapore and New Zealand on Thursday (Mar 18) discussed the possibility of working together to mutually recognise both countries' digital health and COVID-19 vaccination certificates, said Singapore Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan.

In a Facebook post on his virtual meeting with New Zealand counterpart Nanaia Mahuta, Dr Balakrishnan said that as both countries embark on their respective vaccination programmes, such certificates would be an "important enabler for the resumption of international travel", echoing what Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in February.

READ: Singapore discussing COVID-19 vaccine certification with other countries, says PM Lee

Mr Lee said then that Singapore was discussing the mutual recognition of COVID-19 vaccine certificates with other countries, and that it was a "necessary step" for global travel to resume.

In February, Dr Balakrishnan, who is also the Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation Initiative, announced that, using blockchain technology, Singapore had developed a “globally inter-operable” standard for cross-border verification of health documents such as digital certificates for COVID-19 test results and one's vaccination status.

READ: Singapore develops new standard for cross-border verification of COVID-19 test results

Earlier in March, Singapore Airlines (SIA) became the first airline to test the International Air Transport Associations (IATA) Travel Pass - a mobile app that can verify a passenger's COVID-19 test results and vaccination status.

"CLOSE COOPERATION"

Additionally, Dr Balakrishnan said that Singapore and New Zealand enjoyed "close cooperation in many areas" and that he and Ms Mahuta reaffirmed the close ties between the two countries.

"We agreed to work towards strengthening our Enhanced Partnership established in 2019, and to explore new and emerging areas of cooperation such as the digital economy, climate change and post-COVID-19 recovery," he said.

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Source: CNA/ic(ac)

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