EU Digital COVID Certificate: European Commission adopts equivalence decision for Lebanon
Today, the European Commission adopted a new equivalence decision certifying that COVID-19 certificates issued by Lebanon are equivalent to the EU Digital COVID Certificate.
The EU Digital COVID Certificate is a proof that a person has either been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative PCR test result or recovered from COVID-19. It was launched by the European Commission on July 1, 2021 in order to facilitate safe free movement across the European Union during the pandemic. Fifty-six countries and territories in five continents have since joined the system, with non-EU countries connecting through an equivalence decision.
By achieving this equivalency to the EU Digital Certificate, Lebanon has joined the EU’s system. This means that individuals who were vaccinated in Lebanon and are traveling to the Schengen area can now use their vaccination certificates to move freely and safely across the continent. Vaccines that are accepted for travel to Europe are those recognised by the European Medicines Agency i.e. Comirnaty (BioNTech and Pfizer), Spikevax (Moderna), Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) and COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen. At the same time, Lebanon agreed to recognise the certificates of people travelling to Lebanon with an EU Digital Certificate or a vaccine certificate from a country, which has also achieved the EU equivalency.
Beyond the resumption of safe travel, the equivalence decision is an important step for Lebanon in its response to the evolving pandemic. Over the past few months, the European Union has provided technical support to the Lebanese Ministry of Public Health for the development of its own Digital COVID Certificate and mobile application. The mobile application, which is currently under review, provides the Ministry of Public Health with the needed technology to verify COVID vaccine certificates in a secured manner, for example at the airport or other public establishments. Vaccination certificates eligible in Lebanon are those recognised by local authorities. The Ministry of Public Health and the Central Inspection/IMPACT team, are currently exploring the possibility of including negative PCR test results and recovery certificates in the system.
Ralph Tarraf, Ambassador of the European Union to Lebanon said: “Together with the Ministry of Public Health and the Central Inspection/IMPACT team, we have developed the IT system and technology behind a certified and secure Digital COVID Certificate for Lebanon. It goes beyond facilitating travel from and to Europe. It will help Lebanon manage its response to the virus, particularly during the coming holiday period”.
The Commission’s decision will enter into force as of 10 December 2021. All decisions are available online. More information on the EU Digital COVID Certificate can be found on the dedicated website.