EU lawmakers approve Covid certificates

Flags of the European Union

Brussels, (Samajweekly) European Union (EU) lawmakers have approved a new travel certificate that will allow people to move freely within the bloc without having to quarantine or taking extra coronavirus tests.

The approval will allow EU citizens to get a digital health pass to display their vaccination status, results of Covid-19 tests, or whether they have recovered from a coronavirus infection, Xinhua news agency reported.

The free certificate will take the form of a QR code on a smartphone or paper, letting authorities determine the status of a visitor based on records in their home country within the EU.

Several EU countries have already begun using the system, including Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece and Poland.

The certificate will officially come into force on July 1 and will be in place for 12 months.

It will not be a pre-condition for free movement and will not be considered a travel document.

The new regulations governing the vaccine certificate were adopted on Wednesday in two votes at the European Parliament plenary in Strasbourg, France, which reconvened after a 15-month absence due to the pandemic.

Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar, rapporteur and chair of the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee, said the vote set the pace to restore free movement and a fully functional Schengen area while countries continue to battle the pandemic.

“The EU Digital Covid Certificate will function from 1 July and will ensure safe and coordinated travel this summer.

“EU states are encouraged to refrain from imposing further restrictions, unless strictly necessary and proportionate, and it is reassuring that some are already issuing the certificate,” he said.