- GS-2: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries
Digital Green Certificates by EU
Context: On March 17, 2021, the European Commission 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.
The certificates are expected to be rolled out by the summer, after countries have had the time to set up the required digital infrastructure.
So, what exactly is the Digital Green Certificate?
- No danger of COVID-19 transmission: A Digital Green Certificate is proof that a person has either been vaccinated against COVID-19, has received a negative test result or has recovered from COVID-19.
- Digital Format & Free: The key features of the certificate are that it will be in digital or paper format complete with a QR code and will be free of charge.
- Issuing Authorities: The certificate can be issued by authorities, including hospitals, testing centres and health authorities.
- Lifting of restrictions in coordinated manner: 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.
- Eligibility: 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.
- Notifying Commission: 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
What is the need for such a document?
- Waives free movement restrictions: In the EU and across the world, the tourism industry has been severely impacted due to the spread of the disease. 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.
- Israel’s Vaccine Passport Model: In February, Israel became the first country to issue certificates called “vaccine passports” that will allow vaccinated individuals to use some facilities and attend events.
- Global Practice: Denmark also said that it was in the process of rolling out digital passports that would act as proof for those individuals who have been vaccinated. Even so, as early as May 2020, countries such as Chile had proposed “release certificates” meant for those who had recovered from COVID-19
- Stance of WHO: However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had advised against using such certificates because of lack of evidence that a person infected with Covid-19 could not get the infection again.
- Possibility of re-infection: However, it is now known that re-infection in case of COVID-19 is rare. Research published in the journal Lancet recently points out that most people who have had COVID-19 are protected from re-infection for at least a period of six months. However, the study says that elderly patients are more prone to reinfections.
Connecting the dots:
Can SAARC/BIMSTEC Nations also come with such certificates which helps movement in the subcontinent leading to faster integration of Nations in post-COVID-19 situation?