Portugal’s government on Thursday approved a decree-law that implements and regulates the European Union (EU) Covid-19 digital certificate, the minister of the presidency, Mariana Vieira da Silva, said.
The certificate, she explained, contains information about the vaccination against SARS-CoV-2, the result of tests, or recovery from Covid-19.
As of 1 July, the certificate can be used for international travel. This week, in events for which it was already mandatory to present a negative test for the coronavirus, such as baptisms, weddings, events with more than 500 people inside, or 1,000 outside.
The European Parliament approved on 9 June the adoption of the Covid-19 digital certificate, which will allow EU citizens who are vaccinated, recovered from an infection or tested to travel without restrictions within the European Union from 1 July.
After negotiators of the Portuguese presidency of the Council of the EU and the European Parliament reached a political agreement in mid-May on the certificate, proposed by the European Commission last March, the approval of the compromise text that legally frames the document paves the way for its entry into force on the scheduled date for 12 months.
Designed to facilitate the return to free movement within the EU, this certificate, which should be free, will function in a similar way to a travel boarding pass, in digital and/or paper format, with a QR code to be easily read by electronic devices, and in the citizen’s national language and English.
As part of the implementation of this European certificate, it is expected that member states will not reapply restrictions when more than half of Europeans have already received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine unless justified by the epidemiological situation. Still, it will always be up to national governments to decide whether travellers with the certificate will have to undergo quarantine, further testing (e.g. beyond entry) or additional requirements.
In the meantime, member states have to develop the technical infrastructure and ensure the interoperability of the certificate recognition systems.