Catalans can now obtain the Digital COVID Certificate to facilitate travel within the European Union. Catalonia's health department has announced that, as part of the progressive introduction of the new EU travel document, it can now be applied for through the La Meva Salut digital health platform. It is not mandatory to have the certificate in order to travel, but it is designed to make moving around the European Union easier in the current Covid situation. Also, it's not necessarily a document as such - a paper version can be obtained, but if you want you can just have a QR code on your mobile phone.
The certificate is intended to provide proof that the bearer is in one of three situations: you have either recovered from Covid-19 after being infected; or you have been fully vaccinated; or, thirdly, you have received a negative diagnostic test result for coronavirus. The last option, however, is not yet available in Spain - until the first of July, the roll-out of the certificate will not be complete throughout Europe. When you obtain your certificate, you will be informed of the limits to its validity.
How to get it in Catalonia
The Catalan public health service's website clarifies that the document is in progressive deployment, "both technically and in terms of functionality." However, it can be requested through La meva salut, as long as the conditions set out are met: either you have been vaccinated; or you have recovered from Covid-19, having had a positive PCR diagnostic test result while infected to prove that you had the illness.
The procedure is available in the Informes i resultats section of the website and alternatively by accessing through the Vacunes i certificat Covid digital de la UE. If in doubt, call 061. Once you have made the request, you will obtain a digital document in PDF format with a QR code containing the essential information, as well as the digital signature to verify the authenticity of the certificate and which you can print on paper if necessary.
Avalanche of requests is expected
The Spanish health ministry announced on Monday that the certificate would be available in Spain from today. This is a free certificate and the ministry says they expect an avalanche of requests in the coming weeks. Each Autonomous Community in Spain is able to implement the system in the way it deems appropriate, via mobile applications or by requesting it from health centres.
The new Covid certificate was the source of much debate within the EU on its use, privacy issues and the possibility of discrimination and fraud. As of June 8th, several EU countries have started to issue and/or verify the certificate: Spain, Germany, Denmark, Czech Republic, Greece, Croatia, Poland, Bulgaria and Lithuania. It is planned to be in full EU application by July 1st.
According to the EU, users of the digital certificate "should in principle be exempted from free movement restrictions". The intention is for states to "refrain from imposing additional travel restrictions on the holders of EU Digital COVID Certificates, unless they are necessary and proportionate to safeguard public health."