Tuesday October 26, 2021

Govt submits COVID passport proposal to Parliament

Published : 21 Sep 2021, 15:14

  DF Report

Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services Krista Kiuru along with the officials of the ministry and the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) spoke at a press conference on the COVID-19 passport proposal on Tuesday. Photo: Finnish government by Fanni Uusitalo.

The Government on Tuesday approved a proposal on the nationwide use of the EU Digital COVID Certificate, or the COVID-19 passport and submitted the proposal to the parliament.

The government proposed that the provisions on the EU Digital COVID Certificate be added to the Communicable Diseases Act with the view to nationwide use of certificate would enter into force as soon as possible, said the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in a press release.

The COVID-19 passport refers to the EU Digital COVID Certificate, which is available in the My Kanta Pages (a vaccination certificate, a test certificate or a certificate of recovery). If necessary, people can also obtain a paper version of the certificate from healthcare providers.

The government proposed that - as an alternative to the COVID-19 restrictions issued by it, the Regional State Administrative Agencies and the municipalities - actors, such as entrepreneurs, who are subject to these restrictions could require their customers to present a COVID-19 passport.

The COVID-19 passport would serve as an alternative in situations where the event or premises in question would be subject to restrictions.

Such restrictions could include restrictions on opening hours or on the number of participants at events. The COVID-19 passport would not, however, serve as an alternative in situations where the authorities have closed the facilities or prohibited the public event altogether owing to the COVID-19 situation.

The COVID-19 passport could be required in places such as restaurants, nightclubs and public events, gyms and other indoor facilities for sports or physical activity, swimming centres and spas, dance halls, spaces used for group leisure activities, amusement and theme parks, indoor facilities in zoos, indoor playgrounds and play centres, and museums, exhibition spaces and other similar cultural venues.

According to the proposal, people aged 12 or older could be required to present a COVID-19 passport, but to ensure the realisation of children’s rights, the testing of 12–17-year-olds for the purpose of issuing the passport should be secured in public healthcare, if the child has not received the COVID-19 vaccine doses.

Currently, people aged 12 or older are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine in Finland.

The government proposed that event organisers requiring customers to show a COVID-19 passport could scan the passport using the COVID-19 passport scanner application approved by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, which can be downloaded on a mobile device. It would be available free of charge from the app store.

The COVID-19 passport scanner would not collect or store data shown on certificates.