France has begun trialling a digital coronavirus travel certificate, becoming the first EU member state to begin experimenting with such technology.
The TousAntiCovid app, which has thus far been used as a contact tracing service, can now store Covid test results on customers’ smartphones within the ‘carnet’ (booklet) feature of the app.
The TousAntiCovid app will be trialled on flights to Ajaccio in Corsica this week, with Air France and Air Corsica informing their eligible customers beforehand. This will be followed by trials to France’s overseas territories in the next few weeks.
French citizens who have taken a Covid test will now receive a text or email from the lab with a document featuring a QR code, which can be scanned to upload test results (both PCR and antigen) directly to the app. Those who do not wish to use the app can print out a certificate instead, which also features the QR code. According to Le Monde, this will be extended to incorporate vaccination results from April 29.
Denmark, too, has begun a trial of its ‘coronapas’, a digital app which stores vaccination records, test results or proof of a previous Covid infection. The Danish health pass is currently being used for domestic purposes, allowing citizens to access facilities such as hairdressers and beauty salons, while France’s digital health passport is also being rolled out for travel purposes.
Cedric O, France’s Secretary of State for the Digital Sector, tweeted a video of the app earlier this week:
.@TousAntiCovid évolue !
Avec #TousAntiCovid-Carnet, vous pourrez intégrer dans l’app grâce à un #QRCode :
➡️Les résultats des tests
➡️Votre certificat de vaccination
Une 1ère étape qui vous permettra de voyager en 🇪🇺 en toute sécurité.@olivierveran @Djebbari_JB @CBeaune pic.twitter.com/cPfSgOHciw
— Cédric O (@cedric_o) April 19, 2021
And the TousAntiCovid twitter provided a guide on how to use the new feature:
— TousAntiCovid (@TousAntiCovid) November 20, 2020
The health pass is not envisaged for activities such as restaurants or shops but may be used for public events such as concerts and festivals.
The website of the app states that “ultimately, this new functionality will be interoperable at the European and international level”.
The European Commission is currently working on a ‘digital green certificate’ to facilitate free movement with the EU, with Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders revealing last week that it should be ready for use by the end of June.
Meanwhile, France is exploring the possibility of welcoming American citizens to the country this summer, provided that they have been vaccinated or tested negative for Covid-19. President Emmanuel Macron told CBS News that a “special pass” may be introduced, and that officials from the French government are currently in discussions with the White House.
For a look at the pros and cons of “vaccine passports”, and the different options being developed, see our recent features: