France is finalizing plans to ease border restrictions for vaccinated travellers – Americans included – as soon as this upcoming May.
"We will progressively lift the restrictions of the beginning of May, which means that we will organize in the summer time with our professionals in France for French European citizens, but as well for American citizens," French President Emmanuel Macron said in an interview with "Face the Nation" that aired on Sunday (April 18). "So we are working hard to propose a very concrete solution, especially for U.S. citizens who are vaccinated, so with a special pass, I would say."
France is currently managing its third lockdown as another wave of COVID-19 infections and variants spread across the country.
Macron called the latest surge an "an epidemic within an epidemic” as the country’s death toll from the coronavirus has surpassed 100,000, with more than 5.3 million total confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Still, there are “technical discussions” being finalized at the moment, Macron said that would ease travel restrictions for vaccinated individuals – including the creation of a certificate that would allow the resumption of travel between European countries.
“We are working hard to propose very concrete solutions, especially for U.S. citizens who are vaccinated... with a special pass,” he said. "The idea indeed is altogether to offer that to the American citizen when they decide to vaccinate or with a PCR test being negative…So the idea is indeed to always control the virus, to maximize the vaccination and to progressively lift the restrictions."
The thinking aligns with plans previously announced by the European Commission (EC) to introduce a “Digital Green Pass” that is able to provide proof that a person has been vaccinated and facilitate "safe and free movement" inside the 27-country bloc.
The Green Pass, which is expected to launch sometime between May 17 and June 1, will consist of three separate certificates showing that a person has either received a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or had recently tested negative or recovered from the virus in the past 180 days.
So far more than 60 travel and tourism organizations have expressed their support for a digital health pass, according to the European Travel Commission.
The term “green pass” is modelled off of an initiative used by Israel, which outpaces the world in vaccination rates with more than half of its population now vaccinated.
Israel, for example, uses an app that allows people to show proof of vaccination or if they have presumed immunity after contracting COVID-19.
Macron on Sunday suggested that France’s "special pass" could be part of the EC's incoming certificate.
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