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Monday,  June 24, 2024 12:42 PM 

EU proposing digital “green pass” for travel

EU proposing digital “green pass” for travel
Michael Pihach

Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.

The European Commission (EC) is proposing rules for a digital pass that will provide proof of both COVID-19 test results and vaccination for the purpose of allowing people to travel more freely.

Taking to Twitter on Monday (March 1), commission chief Ursula von der Leyen wrote that the EC will present a legislative proposal for a “Digital Green Pass.”

The aim of the pass, she wrote, will be to provide proof that a person has been vaccinated, results of tests for those who couldn’t get a vaccine yet, and information on COVID19 recovery.

“The Digital Green Pass should facilitate Europeans‘ lives,” von der Leyen wrote, noting how the pass will respect data protection, security and privacy. “The aim is to gradually enable them to move safely in the European Union or abroad – for work or tourism.”

The commission's legislation is expected to be submitted to European Parliament on March 17, said vice-president, Margaritis Schinas in a news conference.

Inspired by Israel 

The term “green pass” is a term modelled off of an initiative used by Israel, which outpaces the world in vaccination rates with more than half of its population now vaccinated.

Last month, the country released an app that allows people to show proof of vaccination or if they have presumed immunity after contracting COVID-19.

Having a green pass, in turn, allows individuals to move more freely amid the pandemic (by allowing entrance into restaurants and large venues, for example).

Canada weighs in 

The concept of a vaccine passport allowing immunized people to skip tests or quarantine while travelling is controversial and has been raised in political discussions, in Canada, in recent weeks.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in January, made comments that suggested that he disagreed with the concept.

However, at a press conference last week, the PM appeared to be somewhat open to vaccination passports, telling reporters that his government will always rely on Public Health’s advice.

The remarks came after Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé announced that his province was considering “immunization passports” for residents.

“We are in the digital world, and I don't see why we could not have… what we call the QR code that we have on our boarding pass when we fly,” Dubé said at a press conference on Feb. 25. 

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