Coronavirus: Chinese President Xi Jinping proposes global QR code system to help free up travel

Xi tells G20 summit that countries need to standardise arrangements and open up fast tracks to help get people on the move again The codes are widely used in China – but will other countries sign up for such a scheme?

Karen Yeung

Published: 1:18pm, 22 Nov, 2020

Updated: 7:00pm, 22 Nov, 2020Why you can trust SCMP

Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the G20 summit via video link in Beijing on Saturday. Photo: Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the G20 summit via video link in Beijing on Saturday. Photo: Xinhua Chinese President Xi Jinping has proposed using a global QR code system to enable cross-border movement of people amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Addressing the virtual G20 summit on Saturday night, Xi said a global mechanism involving mutual recognition of health certificates, including nucleic acid test results in the form of QR codes, could be used to enable cross-border travel.

“We hope more countries will join this mechanism,” Xi said, according to a transcript published by state news agency Xinhua.

“We need to further standardise policies and establish fast tracks to facilitate the orderly flow of people.”

The proposal is part of China’s suggestions on what should be done to cope with the pandemic. Xi also repeated that China was willing to share its vaccines with the rest of the world.QR codes are barcodes that hold information that can be scanned and read by smartphones. They are in widespread use in China but it is not clear whether other countries could or would sign up for such a system as a way of testing and tracking people.China rolls out colour-coded QR system for coronavirus tracking 2 Mar 2020

Countries have different quarantine and entry rules for foreign passengers, making it hard for cross-border travel. Some are talking about opening up “travel bubbles” to make movement easier.