Through its latest report on the EU’s COVID-19 digital certificate, the European Commission has revealed that the document has had an important role in the continent’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic with more than 591 million certificates issued so far.
In a press release issued today, October 18, the European Union Commission explained that the certification, which covers COVID-19 carrier vaccination, recovery, and testing, has greatly facilitated safe travel. In addition, the document was also a key component in supporting the tourism industry in Europe, which has been hit hard by the pandemic.
EU Digital COVID-19 certification is seen as a global success as it has set a global standard and is the only system operating internationally at the moment.
“The EU’s COVID Digital Certification Scheme has helped mitigate negative economic impacts during the pandemic. It has given travelers the confidence to travel safely in the EU and boosted travel this summer,” said Commissioner of Justice Didi Reynders.
Currently, 43 countries are already attached to the EU system, of which 27 are EU member states, three are European Economic Area (EEA) countries, and 12 are other regions and states, TheSchengen.com reports.
In addition, 60 third countries have expressed interest in joining the EU’s COVID-19 system. Excluding those that have already been successfully connected to the system, 28 of these 60 countries are still in operation.
Aside from the COVID-19 certificate holders who were able to travel freely and benefit from this document, the air transport sector has also benefited greatly from the certificate, which is ready to go in time for the summer season.
Airports Council International (ACI Europe) reported that only during July 2021 the number of passengers increased by more than 50 per cent compared to July 2020. This change in numbers is mainly due to the publication of the EU COVID-19 digital certificate along with the easing of travel restrictions.
“The EU’s digital COVID certificate is a symbol of an open and secure Europe. The Commissioner for Health, Stella Kyriakides, stated that the rapid implementation of the system, not only in the EU but internationally, is an example of EU cooperation and delivery in exceptional circumstances.
Moreover, according to a survey conducted by the European Parliament, 65 per cent of the study participants agreed that the EU digital COVID certificate is the safest way to travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Previously, the International Air Transport Association called on EU member states to harmonize the requirements for a COVID-19 digital certificate and its entry rules. The association warned that due to different requirements and rules, the freedom of movement of EU citizens within the region is at risk.