Hold off on issuing immunity passports, the WHO advised governments on Friday.
It hasn’t been proven that a successful recovery from COVID-19 means you’re protected from a second infection, WHO said in a scientific brief. So, immunity passports for travel or return to work shouldn’t be issued until evidence demonstrates their validity.
Chile had announced last week it would issue COVID-19 immunity cards, allowing bearers to breeze through airport security, according to NPR. France, the UK and others have floated similar ideas.
A couple reasons why WHO may have paused the passports idea:
- Korean health officials have said 2% of recovered patients had to return to isolation after testing positive.
- Wuhan authorities, meanwhile, have found that among patients from several quarantine facilities 5-10% of those who “recovered” later tested positive.
WHO also notes current antibody tests need more evaluation before they can be relied upon. One challenge: Distinguishing past SARS-CoV-2 infections from those of other coronaviruses, including 4 that cause the common cold.