In news: Recently, the European Union proposed to create a Digital Green Certificate to facilitate the safe and free movement of citizens within the European Union (EU) amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
What is a Digital Green Certificate ?
It is proof that a person has either been vaccinated against COVID-19, has received a negative test result or has recovered from COVID-1
Need for Digital Green Certificate
- Due to COVID-19 in the EU and across the world, the tourism industry has been severely impacted
- Many countries have, therefore, been contemplating digital certificates or passports that will be proof that a person has been vaccinated or has recovered from COVID-19.
Key features of the certificate
- It will be in digital or paper format complete with a QR code and will be free of charge.
- It can be issued by authorities, including hospitals, testing centres and health authorities.
- Once the proposal for digital certificates is finalised, it will be accepted in all EU countries and will help to ensure that the restrictions imposed in different areas within the EU can be lifted in a coordinated manner.
- The brand or kind of anti-COVID vaccine received does not matter for the certificate to be issued
- The commission has said that when it comes to waiving free movement restrictions, Member States will have to accept vaccination certificates for vaccines which received EU marketing authorisation
Who will get the benefit?
If issued, all EU citizens or third-country nationals who are legally staying in the EU will be able to use these digital certificates and thereby will be exempted from free movement restrictions.
In case an EU member country requires a person to quarantine or undergo a test, it will have to notify the Commission and all other member states justifying its decision.
Countries with similar initiatives
- Israel: Israel became the first country to issue certificates called “vaccine passports” that will allow vaccinated individuals to use some facilities and attend events
- Denmark: In February 2021, it said that it was in the process of rolling out digital passports that would act as proof for those individuals who have been vaccinated.
- Chile: Chile had proposed “release certificates” meant for those who had recovered from COVID-19. But the World Health Organisation (WHO) had advised against using such certificates