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Belgium: Over 11 Million COVID-19 Passports for Travel Issued Through CovidSafeBE App

Since the CovidSafeBE app became available in Belgium on June 16, more than 11 million certificates have been downloaded, according to figures provided by Digital Flanders and CovidSafeBE.

The EU’s digital COVID Passport was launched on 1 July in order to facilitate travel within the bloc for all people who have been fully vaccinated with any of the vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), reports.

Up until this point, parents were eligible to download COVID passports for their children under the age of 18 through the CovidSafeBE app; However, from now on, minors are also allowed to save their documents in the app on their smartphones.

Besides CovidSafeBE, the western European country is also using another COVID-19 app, known as Coronalert, which is used to anonymously report coronavirus infections until people are tested and isolated themselves, according to the Flemish Groen environmental party.

According to figures provided by Flemish Minister of Welfare Wouter Beck, the app has shared more than 27,800 positive test results since it became effective.

“This represents only 2.7 per cent of all positive Covid tests since the app was launched almost a year ago. I don’t think you can speak of a huge success,” Representative Jeremy Vannekhut noted in this regard.

The environmental organization Flemish Groen urged a detailed assessment of the application. At the same time, Minister Beke does not want to make any additional investment in this project as it only has 2.7 million downloads or 30 per cent of all smartphone users in Belgium.

“806,000 test results were reported, of which 76,000 were positive. But only 27,800 positive tests were shared via the app with other contacts. With an investment of around 1.25 million euros, you can wonder if Coronalert ever succeeded in its goal of to be a tool in the fight against coronavirus,” Vaneeckhout stressed.

Previously, authorities in Belgium warned their test-taking residents to travel with the EU digital passport to consider a two-hour difference between the test time and the watch displayed on the app.

>> Rules for traveling to Belgium during the summer of 2021

Although the country has eased preventive measures imposed to stem the spread of COVID-19 and its new strains, especially for vaccinated travelers, it continues to apply specific restrictions on unvaccinated passengers.

Previously, the Belgian government announced that all people who have not been fully vaccinated and wish to return to Belgium from areas with high infection rates that have been reported in the past two weeks, will have to take a PCR test on the first and seventh day of their arrival.

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