Covid-19 in Europe

EU to recognise Covid certificates from Turkey and Ukraine

An EU digital Covid certificate. (Illustration photo)
An EU digital Covid certificate. (Illustration photo) © AFP/Kenzo Tribouillard

The European Union (EU) will recognise national Covid certificates from Turkey, Ukraine and North Macedonia from Friday, opening the way to easier travel for their residents, the European Commission said.

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The "equivalence decisions" mean those three countries' certificates will be connected to the bloc-wide EU Digital Covid Certificate system, the European Union executive said in a statement.

EU certificates show whether the bearer is fully vaccinated with vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), has recovered from a Covid-19 infection or has a recent negative Covid test.

Turkey, Ukraine and North Macedonia in turn are accepting the EU's Covid certificates, the statement said.

"I am pleased to see that the list of countries implementing a system based on the EU Digital Covid Certificate is growing steadily and we are setting standards internationally," EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said.

"This will help to facilitate safe travel, also beyond the borders of our Union."

The decisions, however, carry a caveat where it comes to vaccinations.

Chinese vaccines not recognised

The EU one recognises only four vaccines -- BioNTech/Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.

EU countries however can decide to accept others.

Ukraine's vaccine portfolio has those four -- but also China's Sinovac.

Turkey and North Macedonia both administer Sinovac and another Chinese one, from Sinopharm, as well as Russia's Sputnik V, also not recognised by the EU scheme, alongside BioNTech/Pfizer and AstraZeneca shots.

The EU already has an equivalence agreement with non-member Switzerland and has been working for some time to set up a mutually recognised system with the United States, so far with little progress.

It does not have an equivalence decision with former member Britain, although many EU countries have unilaterally extended recognition to its certificate to ease entry for fully vaccinated bearers.

(with AFP)

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