Covid-19: before deconfinement, the outlines of a future health pass are becoming clearer

In its deconfinement strategy, the government will implement a health pass. Jean Castex confirmed the measure during his speech on Wednesday April 28. He specified that this pass would target “travel” to leave or enter the territory, and would indicate “tests, vaccination and any proof that one is not a carrier of the virus”.

The measure has already been tested on flights to Corsica. The French application for tracing Covid-19 patients TousAntiCovid now includes a notebook to prove the negative result of a test for the detection of the virus responsible for Covid-19. At Orly airport on Tuesday, Air Corsica passengers presented on-board personnel QR codes on their phones, certifying their negative PCR test transmitted by the laboratory, AFP reports.

“There are already 1000 flash QR codes”, since the start of the experiment on Thursday 22 April. “We have not encountered any problem so far, things are going well,” Cédric O, Secretary of State for Digital Affairs of the French Republic told AFP. The experimentation should extend in the coming weeks to overseas destinations and then to Germany, Spain and the Netherlands.

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Parliament “will have the last word” on the health pass

This health pass could also be used to attend major events, recalls France 3, such as concerts, sporting events or trade shows. But this extension will have to be debated by Parliament, which “will have the last word”, Jean Castex said on Tuesday. For the Prime Minister, “the debate must be established”, in particular because it “affects our fundamental freedoms”. On the other hand, the executive would not be favorable for the moment to use this device to go to the restaurant or to the cinema.

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“France is the first European country to deploy this pass. We hope to be able to ensure that things are generalized by mid-June in this European framework which should make border crossings more fluid,” Cédric told AFP.

On Thursday, MEPs voted in favor of a European health certificate to allow travel within the European Union, but introduced amendments to the proposed text. These augur difficult negotiations before the adoption of the device that Brussels wants operational before the end of June. The European Parliament adopted its position by 540 votes, against 119, with 31 abstentions for a “European Covid-19 certificate”. The text will now be the subject of discussions with the Council, an institution representing the Member States.

Common European framework

The device must allow Europeans to certify that they have been vaccinated against Covid-19, that they have passed a rapid PCR or antigen test which has been negative, or that they are immune after having been infected. . It is about establishing a common framework, while several countries have already started to set up health passes. The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, hailed the vote as a “milestone”. “We will support and facilitate an early conclusion of these discussions,” she tweeted. “If we continue our momentum, I am convinced that we will be able to save the summer,” said Commissioner Didier Reynders, in charge of the dossier.

But there are still differences to be overcome with the Member States. For the European Parliament, EU countries should not be able to impose any additional restrictive measures – such as a quarantine – on entry to their soil on holders of such a certificate. However, the Member States want to reserve this possibility, which falls within their competence.

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MEPs are also calling for tests to be free, like vaccines and certificates. They are already in some countries, in particular in France, but in some Member States the costs “are prohibitive”, had underlined the Spanish MEP Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar. MEPs also want only vaccines recognized by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to be taken into account by this device, or a vaccine approved by the WHO under an emergency procedure. Currently four vaccines are authorized in the EU: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

According to the Commission, discussions are underway with the United States for mutual recognition of health certificates in order to allow tourism to resume on both sides of the Atlantic.


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