Saturday, May 29, 2021

Greece Reveals First EU Digital COVID Passport as ‘Fast Lane to Facilitate Travel’

Greece’s government has revealed the first European Union’s Digital COVID-19 Certificate, which aims to ease the travel process for all persons who have taken the vaccine against the virus.

Such a document has been considered by Greece’s Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, as a “fast lane to facilitate travel,” reports.

During the launch of the certificate in Athens, Mitsotakis urged European governments to open up for the summer season in order to help the travel and tourism sector recuperate from financial losses caused due to COVID-19.

He also stressed that the system would be running in its country before the deadline set by Brussels for July 1.

“This is particularly important for Greece as a tourism country, but I think important for every single state because what we want to do is we want to restore freedom of movement,” Mitsotakis pointed out.

According to him, the EU’s Digital COVID Certificate contains all the information that an EU Member State would need in order to open its doors to travellers, without obliging them to follow additional requirements such as proof of vaccination or proof of  COVID-19 negative tests.

Besides Greece’s Prime Minister, the event was attended by the European Council President, Charles Michel as well as the EU Commissioner for Promoting the European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas.

In this regard, the former prime minister of Belgium, who currently is president of the EU Council, stressed that “the free movement of people is a great European achievement, and it’s why it’s so important to demonstrate after this Covid crisis that you are able to guarantee the free movement of citizens.”

The document gives all EU or third-country holders the right to move within the block without being subject to restrictions imposed to halt the further spread of the virus.

If any EU country continues to keep its quarantine or test requirements in place, it must notify the European Commission and all member states to justify such a decision.

Authorities in Greece have continuously called on EU countries’ governments to find safe ways to welcome tourists from other countries and prevent further financial losses caused by the virus.

Greece’s government permitted travellers from many countries to enter its territory from mid-May, as promised.

In April, the country’s Tourism Minister Harry Theocharis introduced a four-point plan to revive the tourism sector, while stressing that the country would be ready for the summer season.

Greece has registered a total of 398,898 COVID-19 infection cases and 11,995 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

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