NEWS

Greece starts Covid certificate pilot run

Digital document facilitating travel will be available across EU and Schengen Zone on July 1

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A pilot run of the EU Digital Covid Certificate started in Greece on Tuesday, ahead of its introduction across the European Union on July 1.

It will soon be known which countries will start using the digital certificate ahead of July 1, enabling Greeks who activate it to freely travel there and back, Digital Governance Minister Kyriakos Pierrakakis told Skai TV on Tuesday, adding that Greece is one of the first countries to launch a pilot phase.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was among the most insistent proponents of the certificate, with a view to facilitating travel and boosting the country’s tourist season, which suffered a catastrophic decline in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Officials expect all EU members, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, to activate the digital certificate on July 1.

Greek citizens can obtain the certificate online at eudcc.gov.gr, using their Taxisnet or Social Security Registry (AMKA) number, under three conditions: if they have finished their vaccination schedule; if they had been recently diagnosed with the disease and recovered; and if they have recently had a negative molecular or rapid antigen test. It should be noted that each country can post its own guidelines as to how recently each of the above conditions must be met, so prospective travelers must inquire whether their certificate is valid for the country or countries they plan to visit.

The EU Digital Covid Certificate is issued for free and can be printed. It includes a QR code with a digital signature and is in both the issuing country’s language and in English. In a few days, it can also be issued through the Citizens’ Service Centers (KEP), either online (kep.gov.gr) or in person.

Regarding the pandemic itself, authorities announced on Tuesday the lowest number of deaths in three months, 27, but intubations inched up, to 482 from 481 the day before, after weeks of a slow but steady decline. Otherwise, there were 1,886 confirmed new cases detected from 61,644 tests, a positivity rate of 3%. More than half of the new cases (959) were detected in the Attica region, while 169 were detected in Thessaloniki.

Tests on human waste show that the viral load is either declining very slowly or stabilizing in many parts of the country. In Attica the drop remained statistically insignificant for the third week in a row, while in Thessaloniki, the 21% decline was less than in previous weeks.