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European Union Approves COVID-19 Certificates for Travel Reopening

The European Union reached a deal Thursday approving COVID-19 certificates that would help reopen non-essential travel across the 27-nation bloc this summer.

The agreement was reached after the fourth round of negotiations between European Parliament lawmakers and current EU president Portugal representing member states.

The coronavirus certificates will be free and utilize a QR code on a smartphone or paper that allows authorities to determine the status of a visitor based on records in their home EU country. The codes show if the person received a vaccine, tested negative, or had immunity based on recovery.

EU Ambassadors agreed that no additional restrictions—including testing and quarantines—would be imposed unless considered necessary on public health grounds. Almost 40 percent of adults in the EU have received at least the first vaccine dose.

“WTTC welcomes the agreement reached on the EU Digital COVID Certificate, which has now been given the green light by all member states,” WTTC Senior Vice President Virginia Messina said. “This new certificate could be the key to unlocking international travel and save thousands of businesses and millions of jobs across Europe and beyond.”

“It will see all 27 member states welcoming vaccinated travelers and those with proof of a negative test or a positive antibody test in time for the peak summer season, which will provide a massive and much-needed boost to economies,” Messina continued. “We call on all Member States to have the certificate up and running by July 1 with no extra restrictions.”

The European Commission also announced it would use $120 million of its emergency support fund to ensure tests are affordable and readily available. More than a dozen EU countries will begin testing before the scheduled launch on July 1.

On Wednesday, EU officials approved the ruling that tourists from outside the bloc who have been fully vaccinated should be allowed in and restrictions on which countries are considered safe would be eased.

The European Commission ruled earlier in May that entry should be granted to all those fully vaccinated with EU-authorized shots, but also revealed an “emergency brake” mechanism to shut down the possible spread of COVID-19 variants.

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