Europe

France launches COVID pass for travel to its overseas territories

France has launched a COVID health pass to facilitate travel with its overseas territories but that it hopes to extend to European Union member states.

A new “booklet” functionality was added on Monday to the country”s COVID app, TousAntiCOVID, allowing people to store certificates on vaccination or recovery from COVID-19 as well as valid tests results.

Secretary of State for Digital, Cédric O told reporters that “France is the first country (in the EU) to make available to its citizens this functionality” to certify the result of the tests.

Every organisation authorised to perform tests including laboratories and pharmacies will send the data to a system managed by the French health insurance system, which will “sign” it to guarantee its authenticity.

The operation will be similar for vaccinations, with a certificate issued after each dose and made available on the Health insurance website.

Cédric O added that the system presents “two advantages: the forgery-proof nature of the test, and its speed of reading” to smooth border crossings.

The app has been downloaded by nearly 15 million people since its launch in June 2020 when it was known as StopCovid. But people who do not want to use the application will be able to print QR codes of their certificates.

More than 17 million doses of the vaccines have been administered in France with 4.6 million people now fully immunised.

The system is to be tested first on flights from the mainland to Corsica and to the other overseas territories in the coming weeks.

On Twitter, Cédric O also described it as “the first step towards safe travel across the European Union.”

Brussels is working on a European Green Certificate to facilitate “safe and free movement” across the 27 member states-bloc in the coming months. It is currently on track to be released in June, internal market Commissioner Thierry Breton told French television on Sunday.

“The format of the European QR Code is not yet decided,” a source close to Cedric O told AFP, “but the day it is, ours will be convertible.”

French President Emmanuel Macron also announced on Sunday that the country is working on a “special pass” to allow vaccinated Americans to visit in the summer.

A “coronapas” was also launched in Denmark earlier this month allowing people who have either been fully vaccinated, have tested positive for COVID-19 two t 12 weeks previously or negative over the previous 72 hours to visit non-essential businesses.

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