UK airline passengers will now be able to take advantage of harmonised COVID-19 certificates when travelling to and from the EU and dozens of other countries around the world. With effect from today (29 October), the UK has become part of the EU Digital COVID Certificate system, which encompasses a total of 45 countries.
“Good news for travellers to the UK and Armenia,” reported the EU Commission in a tweet. “Today, we adopted two new decisions certifying that COVID-19 certificates issued by these two countries are equivalent to the EU Digital COVID Certificate.”
With the UK now meeting all the conditions to become part of the system, the NHS COVID Pass is recognised under the same conditions as its EU equivalent.
Commenting on the decision, EU commissioner for justice Didier Reynders said, “Forty-five countries in four continents are connected to the system, and more will follow in the coming weeks and months. We are open to other countries to join our system.”
In addition to the UK, other countries that have previously joined the EU and Schengen Area digital vaccine certificate programme include Albania, Faroe Islands, Israel, Morocco, North Macedonia, Panama, Turkey and Ukraine.
Since its launch in July, more than 591 million EU Digital COVID Certificates have been generated. According to a report by the European Commission earlier this month, the EU certificate has been a crucial element in Europe’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The certificate, which covers COVID-19 vaccination, test and recovery, facilitates safe travel for citizens, and it has also been key to support Europe’s hard-hit tourism industry. The EU Digital COVID Certificate is a success worldwide: it has set a global standard and is currently the only system already in operation at international level.”
Referring to the report, Didier Reynders said, “The EU Digital COVID Certificate system has helped mitigate negative economic effects during the pandemic. It gave travellers the confidence to travel safely in the EU and boosted travel this summer. Europe has swiftly and successfully set an innovative, privacy-friendly global standard, in times of crisis, with many countries around the globe interested in joining the system.”
News of the UK’s inclusion in the system came the same week that the British government eased its testing requirements for fully vaccinated passengers arriving in England.