France Becomes First Country in Europe to Launch Digital Health Pass for Travel

France started testing a digital health pass this week, making it the first European country to trial the much-talked-about concept aimed at restarting international travel.

To start, the health pass is being trialed on flights to Corsica, a French territory in the Mediterranean, Le Monde reported. It is then expected to be expanded to include vaccination certificates on April 29.

Eventually, it will be extended to other international flights, and could even be used for things like festivals and concerts, but not for bars and restaurants.

The pass comes as French President Emmanuel Macron has said he wants to ease travel restrictions on international travel in time for the summer, including for vaccinated Americans. Macron told CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday the plan was to "progressively lift the restrictions."

Going forward, anyone who gets a COVID-19 test in France will receive a text message or email with access to a state-certified online document that can either be printed or stored in the TousAntiCovid app, The Guardian reported. Next week the same will be true for those who are vaccinated.

The app will then generate a secure QR code.

France's Secretary of State for digital transition, Cédric O, said the trial will be one part of a "reinforced, consolidated and standardised" Europe-wide system, according to The Guardian. It comes a week after Didier Reynders, the European commissioner for justice, said he expects the EU's "digital green certificate" to be ready for use by June 21.

Currently, France remains on lockdown, closing all non-essential shops and requiring residents to remain within about six miles of their homes.

France isn't alone in trialing a digital health pass. Last week, Denmark started testing out its own health pass, called Coronapas, for access to non-essential businesses like hairdressers. On May 6, the country plans to expand it to include access to restaurants, museums, and movie theaters.

And the Netherlands is trialing a system that allows people who tested negative for COVID-19 to attend live events with a CoronaCheck app.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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