The EU Commission has set the EU’s COVID digital certificate until the end of June next year, with it set to expire on June 30 this year.
Only today, the Commission revealed a proposal to extend the certification for another year, after assessing that the coronavirus remains highly prevalent across the block, thus determining that the certification cannot be discontinued as a means of safe travel this summer.
According to a press release from the EU Commission announcing the proposal, the extension of the regulation will enable travelers to continue to use their COVID certificate when traveling to EU member states, which maintain entry restrictions.
Commenting on the move, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, praised the testimony, stressing that it facilitated free and safe movement throughout the bloc, making life easier for EU citizens.
“This important tool has been fundamental to managing risks and supporting the public health measures in place to protect citizens during the pandemic. Today we are proposing to update the possibilities to benefit from the Travel Certificate across the European Union in order to provide certainty to our citizens, as long as public health needs persist,” the Commissioner said.
She also noted that the proposal includes changes to the certification in order to align it with the latest scientific developments and epidemiological changes related to COVID-19.
The first proposed change to the EU’s digital COVID certification regulation is to make high-quality laboratory antigen tests acceptable for certification in an effort to expand acceptance testing due to the high demand for it.
At the same time, the commission intends to update the certification to include the correct number of doses of COVID-19 vaccines that have been administered to the person, including those administered in member states other than those that issued the certification.
Finally, the agency wants to issue certification to citizens who are part of clinical trials of vaccines against COVID-19 in the hope that the move will encourage the continued development and research of vaccines against the virus.
The certificate was created in the spring of last year in an effort to restore freedom of travel in the bloc, while the same was introduced across EU territory in July 2021. To date, member states have issued more than 1.2 billion certificates to those vaccinated against COVID-19, and those who have recovered from illness, as well as those who tested positive for COVID-19 prior to their flight.
As of Tuesday, February 1, the certificates of those vaccinated against COVID-19 with two doses are valid for 270 days in most EU countries, while in others, they are valid for shorter periods.