Portugal’s PM reveals ‘sanitary certificates’ are on the way for all Europeans

Sanitary certificates are on the way for all European citizens who want to travel this summer.

Following a ‘virtual’ meeting this morning with other European leaders, Portugal’s prime minister António Costa has said the European Commission is preparing a document to attest “in a way not yet identified” to the condition of each European in relation to Covid-19.

The ‘sanitary certificate’ will show whether the citizen has been infected, if he/ she is vaccinated and whether he/ she has had a recent negative test for the virus.

The objective, said the PM, is to “allow greater capacity for circulation” and to “resort less to (measures of) quarantine”.

At a point where news on new variants is “concerning investigators” – particularly in the United States, where the Californian mutation has been described as ‘the devil’ that can evade antibodies, whether gained through infection or from a vaccine – Europe “wants to avoid surprises”, explains Expresso.

“It’s fundamental that mechanisms are put in place to anticipate the detection of new variants”, said Mr Costa, stressing a plan is being formulated for “an articulated effort of cooperation between institutes of investigation and the various health authorities of Member States”.

While citizens who want to travel will require sanitary certificates showing their ‘current situation’, the wider plan is to create a kind of European ‘incubator’ to ‘respond to new realities’ as they come clear – ensuring pharmaceutical companies are in a position to ‘adapt vaccines that are on the market’.

The meeting by videoconference today was ‘dominated’ by the subject of vaccines, with support for any solutions for increasing production and accelerating authorisations by EMA, the European Medicines Authority.

As the Portuguese press reported last week, a unit producing vaccines in the Minho region is already well underway (click here).

Mr Costa told reporters that AICEP – the State-backed trade and investment agency – is working with the local municipality of Paredes de Coura to try and get the unit up and running quickly.

Elsewhere a mapping of the capacity of Portugal’s pharmaceutical industry is being drawn up and “communicated with European authorities, so that we can collaborate in different phases of the production of a vaccine”, said the PM. 

Regarding questions on vaccine procurement, Mr Costa is adamant that the current European format, though slow, is preferable to countries trying to negotiate for vaccines on their own.

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