France will begin testing the Digital Green Certificate from April 29, making it the first country in the European Union to digitally store testing and vaccination details. It has done so by upgrading its own test-and-trace app – TousAntiCovid – that was introduced in October of 2020.
The app, which has been downloaded by 15 million people so far, has been amended so it can store negative Covid-19 test results and proof of vaccinations. The upgraded app will be trialled on flights to Corsica and French overseas territories.
According to officials, the certificate will only be used for travel at first, but they may be adopted for other uses, including public events, concerts and festivals – but not to gain entry into bars or restaurants.
The app will not store personal health data, according to the French ministry of health, the Direction Générale de la Santé (DGS). In a briefing, it said: “During a check, no health data is stored by the TousAntiCovid-Verified application, it simply checks the signature of the certificate with the server, which sends back a red or green signal.”
The EU Commission approved the development of the Digital Green Certificates in March; they are expected to be in place by the beginning of June, with EU member states then given six weeks to put them into operation. By law, EU citizens will be able to request their certificate, which will be available as a digital barcode or as a printout. Barring any delays or glitches, this effectively means that unrestricted travel within the EU could be possible by mid-July.