France First EU Country To Trial Digital Travel Certificate
France is testing a digital application to store COVID-19 test and vaccination certificates in order to kick-start travel.
France is planning on becoming the first EU country to launch a digital application to store COVID-19 test and vaccination certificates. The resulting Digital Travel Certificate will hopefully allow France to find a way to quickly restart travel to the world’s most visited country.
France Testing A Digital Travel Certificate
Like most countries in the world, France has suffered from a lack of international visitors over the last year of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the hope of restarting travel to the world’s most popular country, the government is testing a digital application to store COVID-19 test and vaccination certificates.
The French government began testing what it calls the Pass Sanitaire (health pass) application on April 19. The app is set to record travelers’ COVID-19 vaccination and/or test results to enable them to travel with the necessary information at hand.
The French newspaper, Le Monde, has reported that the new process will first be trialed on flights to and from Corsica. Next in line, it will be tested on flights to and from France’s overseas territories. This will make France the first European Union country to adopt electronic certification as a health pass for COVID-19.
Via the app, France will ensure it meets the EU criteria by being ready by June 17, 2021. Meanwhile, Denmark is working on a similar application and is already trialing it in hairdressing salons, as well as in bars and restaurants.
How Will It Work?
Following a COVID-19 test result or vaccination, the traveler will receive a QR code on a piece of paper. Using the QR code, they can then download onto an application, called TousAntiCovid. They can, alternatively, simply travel with the piece of paper if they choose. However, the QR code will protect against forgeries. It will also allow police and border control personnel to quickly check a traveler’s health status.
However, for the new digital travel pass to work across the EU bloc, as well as internationally, it is necessary that any arrangements made are reciprocal. For example, from March 11, visitors from the United Kingdom have been allowed to visit France without a “motif imperieux” (compelling reason to travel). However, the UK currently bans any travel to France. However, this may change on May 17. The Telegraph has reported that it is not yet clear whether quarantine would be required when travelers return to the UK.
Another example is that there is currently a travel ban in place between the US and the EU. President Biden is reportedly considering lifting the current travel ban by mid-May, at which time the EU would need to lift its own in return.
Reportedly, France has registered more than five million COVID-19 cases, along with more than 100,000 deaths from the virus. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), France has lost around €103 billion ($124 billion) in 2020 and has suffered a decrease in GDP from €211 billion ($253 billion) in 2019 to €108 billion ($130 billion) in 2020.