France becomes the first European country to launch Digital health pass for travel

The present is digital. France becomes the first country that has launched its digital health pass for air travel. It has been launched keeping international travel in mind. 

Currently, the trials for these passes are limited to flights to Corsica, a French territory in the Mediterranean. An extension plan is well kept in mind according to local media reports. Eligible travelers include people flying from/to Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, Mayotte & Reunion to/from France.

Vaccination certificates are to be included too. The passes allow users access to festivals and concerts. The passes however don’t cover bars and restaurants currently. 

The pass started rolling out post French President Emmanuel Macron’s statement about wanting to relax travel restrictions on international travel for the summer, including vaccinated Americans. The restrictions are expected to be eased gradually. 

The TousAntiCovid app will help in contact tracing, COVID test results, and more. 

The app also highlights key data relating to the health status of the country in the app. It also shows the occupancy rate of intensive care units. 

Anyone who gets a test done for COVID in France henceforth will receive a text or email from the lab with a document featuring a QR code. The QR code can be scanned and the test results will be uploaded to the app. Citizens not willing to use the app can use a printed certificate of the same. 

The app is available for both Android and Apple users. They can find it on Google Play Store and App Store. The TousAntiCovid app was launched in October and is available in seven languages, including English. 

The official website reads “Receive alerts and alert others about exposures to COVID-19. Use TousAntiCovid to help fight the pandemic by reducing transmission risks.” 

The app’s office twitter handle also provided a guide on how to use the app. 

Various netizens were spotted sharing data and statistics from the app on Twitter. 

Countries adopting digital passes

There are in fact quite some countries that are working towards integrating technology with travel and healthcare keeping the current situation in mind. Countries are choosing to close borders for specific groups and nations and at this hour digitally validated and accessible documents come in handy. 

France isn’t the only country working out on a digital pass. The government of Panama will accept the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Travel Pass as a digital travel credential for travellers. The European Union is expecting its “digital green certificate” to be ready for use by June 21. Even Denmark declared about the trials of Coronapas, its own digital health pass. The Netherlands too is trialing on the CoronaCheck app for access to live events. 

While various countries are adopting to digital passes, critics are skeptical about such apps being used to invade privacy and the security of the user. Critics have also pointed out that the data might be used for surveillance and hence, are doubtful about the digital transformation everyone is currently subjected to.

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