Covid "passport" ready this Sunday for travel, bars
Luxembourg residents can start using Covid-19 certificates this Sunday that will make it easier to access restaurants, attend events and travel abroad, Health Minister Paulette Lenert said on Thursday.
The CovidCheck "passports" will be recognised across all 27 countries of the European Union as well as in Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, said Lenert at a press conference together with digitalisation minister Marc Hansen.
People can either download their certificates onto their smartphones or carry a paper version with them to a restaurant or when travelling.
Thanks to the new certificates, Luxembourg will lift all social distancing measures in bars and restaurants and at sports venues, according to a new Covid law that parliament is expected to approve on Saturday.
The Covid passport is valid for people who are fully vaccinated, have tested negative within the last 72 hours, or have recovered from the disease in the last six months, Lenert said. A newly-developed app, called "CovidCheck.lu", will allow business owners to easily check up on their clients.
People who do not qualify for any of the three certificates still have the possibility to do a rapid self-test before entering a restaurant, Lenert said, adding "Everything we do, we have to do with caution and responsibility".
All EU countries will recognise the Covid certificate, but not all of them may be ready on time. There is a six-week grace period to the system, Hansen said and travellers should local guidelines before leaving.
Luxembourg is joining a list of eight other EU countries that have already started using the EU system.
People who received their last vaccine before 10 July and received a form that is now outdated will receive a new EU-approved version, Hansen said. Roughly 160,000 such new certificates have already been printed and will be sent out by post in the next few days, he said.
Those who received their final jab on or after Thursday will be given the new certificates at the vaccination centres, Hansen said. Also from Thursday, all PCR and antigen tests will bear a QR code that people can scan with the new app.
People who have recovered from Covid over the past six months can download a certificate from the myguichet.lu online portal from 13 July.
Also on Thursday, Luxembourg City said it would provide free tests to every resident until 15 July, mainly with an eye to give young people a chance to qualify for the certificate. Bars and nightclubs will be allowed to stay open until 3am, provided they have been granted permission.