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May 31, 2021

The world’s top seven economies must come together to enact a system for vaccine passports and a plan to restore international travel, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Sunday, just weeks before the U.K. hosts the first in-person G7 Summit since the pandemic hit.

 

"We need to have agreements on issues such as vaccine passports, COVID status certification and the rest," Johnson told CBC News in an interview airing Sunday. 

Not all the G7 leaders agree on how quickly to begin travel between their countries—leaders in France and Italy have expressed excitement at allowing foreign travelers, including Americans, to cross their borders in a move to capture lost tourism revenue.

Other nations are more hesitant to resume international travel—even as Japan plans on holding the Olympic Games amid a surge in new coronavirus cases, the government has banned foreign spectators.

Canada, Germany, the U.K. and U.S. have also not announced plans to roll back their pandemic travel restrictions anytime soon.

Besides providing a much-need boost to the tourism industry, agreeing on systems will help prepare for if—or when—another worldwide pandemic strikes, Johnson said, and allow for easy trade of important goods like medicine and vaccines.

"We need to have rules so that there can be no interruptions of supplies across borders, so that we have secure supply chains for the things that we depend on in future," Johnson said.

Johnson’s virtual interview with the Canadian broadcaster’s chief political correspondent Rosemary Barton is the prime minister’s first media appearance after Johnson married his girlfriend Carrie Symonds Saturday in a small, private ceremony in London’s Westminster Cathedral. The two welcomed the birth of their son, Wilfred, just over a year ago. 

The U.K. will host the G7 Summit next month in Cornwall, located on Britain’s rugged southwest coastline. It will be the first in-person meeting between many of the world’s most powerful leaders since the onset of the pandemic. U.S. President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga have all confirmed they will travel to the U.K. to meet in person. The last in-person G7 Summit was held in August 2019 in Biarritz, France. A summit planned by former U.S. President Donald Trump at Camp David in June 2020 was cancelled over the coronavirus pandemic.