The health certificate adopted by European Union countries officially took effect on Thursday in hopes of reviving travel and relaunching tourism, despite threats of “brakes” due to the spread of the delta type of coronavirus.
The document – the QR code can be carried on the phone or printed – certifies that the carrier has been fully immunized with one of the vaccines approved in the European Union, tested negative in a recent test or already has immunity to infection.
The point is that the certificate Allow travel across 27 EU countries and four countries that have joined the initiative (Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein).
All EU countries are already connected to the system, except Ireland, which has been hit by a cyber attack on its health network but hopes to join the project on July 19.
The The bloc countries will be obliged to accept travelers who have already been fully vaccinated on their soil With EU-licensed vaccines: Pfizer / BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca (2 doses) and Johnson & Johnson (1 dose).
Member States They can also – although not obligated – to accept people immunized with vaccines authorized in some EU countries. (Like Russian Sputnik V, used in Hungary), Or with vaccines approved by the World Health Organization (like China Sinopharm).
Although certificate holders are not supposed to be subject to quarantine or additional screening, it is still possible for a Member State to impose restrictions if the situation deteriorates in the traveler’s country or region of origin.
However, the popularization of the delta variable, which originated in India and is now prevalent in the UK, could trigger new “emergency brakes” in an effort to relaunch tourism.
The delta variant has already led Germany to include Portugal, where this variant has become the dominant one, in the list of countries at risk, banning practically all arrivals from this country.
In contrast, Spain and Portugal suddenly announced additional restrictions and claims on travelers from the UK as a result of the delta variant.
The massive rise in infections in delta forms in the UK, which gives the country an infection rate more than four times that of the European Union, is causing deep concern on the continent.
EU countries have adopted a recommendation to allow entry only to fully-immunized travelers from outside the bloc, or people who have urgent reasons to travel.
However, Portugal, Spain and Greece initially opted for a more flexible stance in the hope of reviving their tourism sectors.
Meanwhile, this trend is now under strong pressure due to the realization of this The EU is six weeks behind the UK in future delta-form infections.
During a European summit a week ago in Brussels, German Prime Minister Angela Merkel sharply criticized Portugal and Spain for openly accepting British tourists, given the need to give oxygen to their tourism-dependent sectors.
This Thursday, when the certificate enters into force, There were endless queues at Brussels Airport, as passengers trying to check out were diverted to control the tents, as there was a large crowd.
“Everything is covered,” said an employee of Brussels Airlines. When a family with children claimed they would miss their flight, the employee replied: “It’s COVID-19, that’s the procedure. If they miss their flight, we will put them on another one.”
according to statistics France Press agency Based on official data, 50.4% of the EU population has received at least one coronavirus vaccine, and one in three people have been fully immunized.
(With information from AFP)