France becomes ‘first EU nation’ to launch its own Covid ‘pass’ for travel

Andrew Neil criticises France’s vaccine rollout

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France has become “the first” country in the European Union (EU) to launch its own Covid vaccination passport-style app to facilitate travel. However, at the time of writing the pass will only be available for use by French citizens.

It will allow those who have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to travel with evidence.

Those who have tested negative for coronavirus within a specific time frame, or who have recovered from coronavirus and have natural antibodies will also be allowed to travel.

France’s Secretary of State for Digital, Cédric O, told reporters France is the “first country [in the EU] to make this functionality available to its citizens”.

Initially, the app will be used to allow citizens to travel to and from France’s overseas territories.

It will first be used on flights from the mainland to Corsica.

So far, the TousAntiCOVID app has been downloaded nearly 15 million times since its launch in June last year.

The app will work using QR codes which can be scanned to reveal their vaccine, testing or antibody certificate.

Travellers who do not have a mobile phone app will be able to print off a QR code to present when travelling.

It is hoped the digital travel “pass” will then allow French citizens to travel to other EU countries.

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However, the nation has said the “pass” will not stand in the way of or replace the work being done towards the EU’s digital travel pass.

The pass is unlikely to be used by UK travellers, however, those hoping to visit Europe in the future may be required to make use of the bloc’s own digital pass.

France has said the TousAntiCOVID programming will be “convertible” so that it can work in tandem with the European Union’s vaccine passport.

“The format of the European QR Code is not yet decided,” a close source of Cédric O told AFP.

“The day it is, ours all be convertible”.

At the time of writing Brussels is working on a way to facilitate “safe and free movement” across the EU.

Visitors from non-EU countries will be able to travel to the bloc if they are able to present “certificates under a system deemed sufficiently reliable” according to a document acquired by Bloomberg.

As the UK is no longer part of the EU, the digital green pass will apply to them.

Much like France’s TousAntiCOVID app, even those who have not been vaccinated will be able to make use of the digital document.

The EU’s digital green pass for travel will allow those who have tested negative for COVID-19 to travel, as well as those who can prove they have naturally occurring antibodies.

Though the UK Government is hoping to resume some international travel from May 17, it is not certain the official EU travel pass will be ready in time.

The exact details of the scheme and when it is set to launch have not yet been officially confirmed.

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