Only today, the Commission has unfolded a proposal for the Certificate’s extension for another year, after an evaluation that the Coronavirus is still highly prevalent throughout the block, thus determining that it is not possible to cease using the Certificate as a means of safe travel this summer.
According to a press release of the EU Commission announcing the proposal, extending the regulation will enable travellers to continue using their COVID Certificate when travelling to the EU Member States, which maintain entry restrictions.
Commenting on the move, the Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides praised the Certificate, asserting that it has facilitated safe free movement throughout the bloc, making the life of EU citizens easier.
“This important tool has been key to manage the risks and support public health measures in place to protect citizens during the pandemic. Today we propose to update the possibilities to make use of the Certificate for travel across the EU in order to provide certainty for our citizens, as long as the public health needs persist,” the Commissioner said.
She also pointed out that the proposal includes changes to the Certificate in order to align it with the most recent scientific developments and epidemiological changes regarding COVID-19.
The first change proposed to be made to the EU Digital COVID Certificate Regulation is making high-quality laboratory-based antigen tests acceptable for obtaining a certificate in a bid to widen the scope of acceptance tests due to the high demand for them.
At the same time, the Commission intends to update the certificates so that they include the correct number of doses of COVID-19 vaccines that a person has been administered, including here the doses administered in the other Member States than the one issuing the Certificate.
And finally, the Commission wants to issue certificates to citizens who are part of clinical trials for vaccines against COVID-19 in the hope that such a move will encourage the ongoing development and research of vaccines against the virus.
The Certificate was established in spring last year in a bid to restore the freedom of travel in the bloc, while the same started applying throughout the whole territory of the EU in July 2021. So far, the Member states have issued more than 1.2 billion certificates to those vaccinated against COVID-19, those who have recovered from the disease, as well as to those who test negative for COVID-19 before their trip.
Since Tuesday, February 1, the certificates for those vaccinated against COVID-19 with two doses are valid for a period of 270 in most EU countries, while in others, they are valid for even shorter periods.