The new digital Covid Certificate of the European Union will enter into force on July 1st, which will facilitate the free safe movement of citizens within the EU countries during the pandemic.
The pass is valid for those who have been vaccinated, for those who have contracted the Covid-19 infection and are cured, and for those who have undergone tests and tested negative. The EU IT platform that makes the Pass possible will already work starting today and states that intend to anticipate the times can make use of it immediately.
As Adnkronos reports, “the use of the pass may vary from state to state: the competences are national and the Council can only recommend, not impose. And even when the proposal made yesterday by the Commission is approved by the Council, it will remain a non-binding recommendation: in the last year the Council’s recommendations have often been disregarded by member countries”.
The pass could be issued by testing centers, health authorities or directly via an eHealth portal.
As can be read on the European Commission website, the EU digital Covid certificate will be accepted in all EU member states and will help ensure that the restrictions currently in force can be revoked in a coordinated way.
In the event of travel, the certificate holder should, in principle, be exempted from restrictions on free movement: i.e. Member States will have to refrain from imposing further travel restrictions on holders of an EU digital Covid certificate unless they are not necessary and proportionate to protect public health.
In this case, for example in response to new variants giving rise to concern, the Member State in question has to inform the Commission and all other Member States and justify this decision.
Specifically, for vaccinated people, the pass will be valid from 14 days after the second dose of vaccine. Starting from that day, people who have completed the vaccination course (i.e. two doses of Vaxzevria / AstraZeneca, Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna and one dose of Janssen (J&J) and who will be in possession of the pass, could be exempted, traveling , from tests and quarantines. The same applies to people who have contracted the infection and are cured. For those who have only received the first dose, it will be up to individual countries to decide to issue the pass anyway (considering the first dose is already sufficient to ward off the disease) or request a test.
As regards the recovered, the exemption from the test and / or quarantine obligation should be guaranteed within 180 days following the positive PCR test, which certifies the infection (validity is starting from the eleventh day after the test, once the period of contagiousness is over).
Finally, for those who are neither cured nor vaccinated, the swab remains, whose certified negativity is also recognized abroad. For tests, while today each country establishes an autonomous validity, starting from 1 July the period will be standardized. And therefore, for the pcr or molecular tests the validity will be 72 hours, while for the antigenic ones it will be 48 hours.
Then there is a borderline case, that of families with minors, in which only adults have received the vaccine. In this case, traveling minors may also be exempt from quarantine, but a test will be required for children aged 6 and over.
How the certificate will work
The EU digital COVID certificate contains a Qr code with a digital signature to prevent falsification. When checking the certificate, the QR code is scanned and the signature is checked.
Each body authorized to issue certificates (such as a hospital, test center or health authority) has its own digital signature key. All signature keys are stored in a secure database in each country.
The European Commission has created a gateway to ensure that all certificate signatures can be verified across the EU. The personal data of the certificate holder will not pass through the gateway as this is not necessary to verify the digital signature. The European Commission also helped Member States develop national software and apps for issuing, storing and verifying certificates and supported them in the tests required to join the gateway.
The data included in the certificate
The EU digital Covid pass contains essential information such as name, date of birth, date of issue, vaccine / test / cure information and unique identifier. The data remains on the certificate and is not stored or retained when a certificate is verified in another state.
The certificates will include only a limited set of necessary information, which cannot be retained by the countries visited. For verification purposes, only the validity and authenticity of the certificate are checked, ascertaining by whom it was issued and signed. All health data are stored in the Member State that issued the EU digital Covid certificate.