EU keeps the COVID Travel Certificate for another Year
The European digital COVID certificate will be used for another year to travel from one country to another. The European Parliament and member states agreed on this late Monday.
Legislation to introduce the document was due to expire on June 30, but due to the ongoing pandemic, it was proposed to extend it until June 30, 2023, said the French presidency of the Council of the EU.
Next week, parliament and council will formally adopt a change in the validity of the documents. At present, the vaccination certificates for those who have received a booster dose of the vaccine against COVID-19, as well as for the vaccinated minors, are indefinite.
All other documents issued to vaccinees only with the initial course of vaccination, to those who had the disease and were tested, are valid for 270 days, after which they must be renewed.
The extension of the COVID-19 certificate regulation will ensure that EU and third-country passengers associated with the system continue to be able to use their EU COVID digital certificate to travel to countries where it is required for travel.
The French Presidency clarifies that if the health situation allows, the ordinance can be repealed earlier.
The first reassessment of the decision will be a report from the European Commission, which will assess the need to use the certificate, as well as possible changes to it, by the end of the year.
The new travel certificates include all doses of vaccines administered, whether they are made in one or more European countries, as well as the possibility for the test takers to use the results of antigen tests made in a licensed laboratory. Certificates will also be available to people who have participated in clinical trials that have so far been omitted by law and have had travel problems because the vaccines they received could not be reflected in the document.
The EU introduced a travel certificate between countries on 1 July 2021, which was required mainly for access to flights operating on European domestic flights, but at the peak of the pandemic, it also provided access to other public places. Subsequently, the electronic system began to recognize documents from more than 30 other countries, including the United Kingdom. At the beginning of the summer, due to the reduction of infections, some countries, including Bulgaria on May 1 and Italy, stopped requiring passengers to present the document.
Since the beginning of the month, a number of countries, especially Portugal, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Italy and Greece, have reported an increase in new cases of coronavirus infection, mainly due to new sub-variants of Omicron, which are even more contagious than the original dominant variant.
Bulgaria, which is conducting too few tests at the moment to be recognized as valid by the European Health Agency, which makes weekly maps of the epidemiological situation in Europe, says it has a low prevalence throughout its territory and is in a green area with below 40 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
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