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Luxembourg to test EU Covid-19 travel certificate

Luxembourg to test EU Covid-19 travel certificate

by Emery P. DALESIO 03.05.2021 From our online archive
Grand Duchy to be among first countries to pilot digital system proving vaccine or recovery from virus makes them safe to travel abroad
Holidaymakers lined up at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam on Saturday
Holidaymakers lined up at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam on Saturday
Photo credit: AFP

Luxembourg will next week become one of the first EU countries to test a digital passport showing that holders are unlikely to spread Covid-19 and which will enable those in possession to travel freely.

"Luxembourg is one of several member states participating in the pilot (dry run) that will start 10 May", European Commission spokesman Johannes Bahrke said in an email on Monday.

The Grand Duchy is expected to be one of 16 EU countries including France and Germany to start testing next week on a so-called "digital green certificate” intended to coordinate free travel within the bloc. The certificate, in the form of a digital code, is designed to prove that a person has either been vaccinated against Covid-19, recovered from the virus or has had a recent negative test result.

Spokeswomen for Luxembourg's digitalisation and health ministries were unable to describe what would happen during the test run. Tasks confronting member states wishing to implement the certificate include making any required changes to update systems of national health records, the commission said in March.

The computer infrastructure that will enable national health systems to swap information is being built for the European Commission and should be "ready and operational on 1 June for member states to connect", Bahrke said.

National health authorities in Luxembourg and other countries will be responsible for establishing whether a person meets certain Covid-safety criteria and issuing the subsequent certificate. The digital version can be stored on a mobile device, but people can also request a paper version, according to a commission description of how the process would work.

"Both will have a QR code that contains essential information, as well as a digital seal to make sure the certificate is authentic", the commission said in a statement in March.

Data shared via the certificate with border authorities or airlines would only include whether or not a person met the Covid-safety criteria, the commission said.

EU officials hope that the certificate can be used as a technical model for a worldwide version and is working with the World Health Organization toward that goal. But the International Air Transport Association is pushing an airline-led programme while multiple certificates are being developed in the United States.

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