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The covid check application to scan certificates proving immunity or a negative test. Photo: Matic Zorman
Around 160,000 certificates with new EU-compliant QR codes for people who are fully vaccinated will begin arriving in homes across Luxembourg starting Friday, digitalisation minister Marc Hansen (DP) said during a press conference.
Luxembourg is ahead of schedule to introduce the digital green certificate--referred to as a covid check in the grand duchy--which is aimed at facilitating travel across the EU starting 1 July.
The certificate plays a major role in the loosening of coronavirus restrictions planned to take effect on 13 June.
“It’s an extremely ambitious step that we’re testing,” health minister Paulette Lenert (LSAP) said on 10 June, adding that only practice will tell how infections will develop over the course of the next month. “You won’t find out in theory,” she said about the reopening. “We are ready.”
With the covid check system, restaurants can resume indoor service without restrictions and events up to 300 people can go ahead without distancing or the obligation to wear masks, provided that all guests and participants can show a valid certificate proving immunity or a negative test. Rapid antigen testing on site will also remain in place.
People who have already been fully vaccinated, around 160,000 individuals, will receive their updated certificate with an EU-compatible QR code in the post, Hansen said. Anyone with a MyGuichet.lu account will also be able to download and print the certificate from the online platform.
Anyone who received a certificate for a first dose, can also download this from MyGuichet. PCR and certified rapid antigen test results will from 13 June also be available on MyGuichet. Paper copies will still be issued with the new QR code system.
“It’s not just something for tech freaks,” Hansen said, adding that the system will also allow people with limited digital skills or equipment to receive their certificate. Anyone receiving their second vaccine dose starting Friday will receive the new document type at the vaccination centre, he said.
Around 2% of QR codes being sent by post could be faulty because of printing errors, Hansen said. The digital version will work correctly, Hansen said, adding that new printed copies will be sent out upon request.
“It’s a project that incredibly ambitious,” Hansen said. Luxembourg has generated around 350,000 EU green certificates over the last days to get the system ready for deployment with the new set of covid-19 laws and in time for the EU-wide mechanism.
Restaurants or event organisers must download a new government-issued app to scan the documents, whether on paper or from a mobile device screen, which will appear as green or red. The app is free to download for anyone, and Hansen recommended that people should test their documents at home to make sure they work.
“It’s extremely important that people understand that cheating won’t bring us forward,” Lenert said. Restaurants or event organisers aren’t obligated to carry out ID checks, but police carrying out spot checks will look for people using somebody else’s data to gain access.
Lenert warned that abuse of the system would “risk the situation getting out of hand in a month’s time”, urging caution and responsibililty.
The certificates will be valid under the following conditions:
One-dose vaccine: 14 days after vaccination
Two-dose vaccine: On the day of the second vaccine. Or 14 days after the first jab in case the person was diagnosed with the coronavirus in the last six months
The certificates are valid for vaccines authorised for use by the European Medicines Agency in the EU--Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Pfizer/Biontech. Luxembourg only issues certificates for vaccines administered in the country.
A PCR test, valid for 72 hours
A certified rapid antigen test, valid for 48 hours
Proof of immunity 11 days after a positive test, valid for six months.
Once the validity of these certificates expires, they will automatically turn red when scanned with the CovidCheck application.
The covid check system will be applicable only for restaurants, venues or event organisers. Private functions at home will be limited to ten people.