Coronavirus passport: Spain deploys the European Union’s Covid digital certificate system | Society

The first travelers with the European Union’s Covid digital certificate arrived in Spain on Monday. “Some 30 to 40 people” presented the document yesterday at Spanish airports, which are already equipped to scan them and allow carriers to pass without the need to quarantine themselves or to present a negative coronavirus test. This is according to Alfredo González, secretary general for digital health, information and innovation of the Spanish national health system. Spain has joined seven other European countries that have already launched the system. A number of regions are already shipping the certificate to their citizens, while “the majority” of the rest will do so this week, González said on Monday.

The certificate consists of a free QR code, which can be in digital or physical form, and which certifies whether the wearer has had Covid-19 in the past six months, has tested negative for the coronavirus via a PCR or a blood test. antigen 11 days before the document was issued, and whether or not they had been vaccinated 14 days previously. The scheme has not yet been fully approved by the European Parliament, but it could happen as early as today. Spain, meanwhile, is already using the system.

On Monday afternoon, the regional governments of Andalusia, Valencia and Navarre announced that their citizens can already download the certificates. In Andalusia, those over 65 will receive a physical copy delivered to their home, as they “are not used to digital roads”, according to Regional Prime Minister Juan Manuel Moreno. The rest of the fully vaccinated population will be able to request it through the Andalusian Health Service website or app, Eva saiz reports.

Passengers at Adolfo Suárez Madrid Barajas Airport.EFE

Andalusia is also studying whether it can vaccinate residents of other regions against Covid-19 while they are on vacation in their territory. This possibility was raised Monday by Fernando Simón, the director of the Health Alert Coordination Center (CCAES) of the Ministry of Health. “If it’s just a matter of days, it’s better [for the vaccine] be administered in your own region, but it is possible that it will happen in another, ”Simon Simon explained at a press conference on Monday.

As in Andalusia, eligible citizens can apply for the certificate through their region’s health website or app, or through their primary health care centers in certain regions. The Covid digital certificate should be accessible to Spanish residents, regardless of their nationality. This will likely include UK nationals, who should not be affected by the fact that their country has now left the European Union through the process commonly known as ‘Brexit’.

The purpose of the certificate, González explained, is to “facilitate movement” between EU countries. But it’s still possible to travel without one – destinations can request free coronavirus tests, however, or require quarantines on arrival.

Travelers from all over the world

Spain also eased its restrictions on arrivals outside the EU on Monday, allowing access to anyone who can prove that they have received full protection against vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or the Organization. World Health Organization (WHO) 14 days before arrival. The current exceptions to this rule are South Africa, Brazil and India, due to worrying variants of the coronavirus circulating there.

However, all passengers still need to complete a travel health form in Spain before arriving in the country, which makes it easier to trace contacts if a case of Covid-19 is detected.

Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Croatia and Poland are the other countries which have so far implemented the use of the Covid digital certificate. All EU member states will do the same until July 1, when its use will be mandatory across the bloc. Until then, the system will be considered to be in a testing phase, but with “full validity”, according to González.

english version by Simon Hunter.