The European Union’s Digital Covid Certificate has seen its use expand as the rates of Covid-19 have rapidly increased across the bloc as we head into winter. This Thursday 25 November, the Catalan high court has ruled to widen the use of the Catalonian vaccine passport, as it is known, and make them mandatory in bars, restaurants, gyms and nursing homes.
The Covid passport can be downloaded via each region’s healthcare system and has three ways to complete it. The bearer can be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, recently recovered from the infection, or have a recent negative test recorded for the certificate. The Catalonian vaccine passport is already a requirement for nighttime venues, weddings and music festivals, but the new extended measures will begin on Friday 26 November.
“The contagion figures are rising at a worrying level for the health and proper functioning of the health system,” said Patrícia Plaja, the spokesperson of the Catalan government, on Tuesday. “Catalonia needs an extra step to prevent the health system from being overwhelmed, without applying new restrictions.”
Coronavirus levels are finally starting to rise across Spain, a few months behind the rest of mainland Europe as they struggle with an explosion of cases. Catalonia is experiencing a slightly higher rise of 170 cases per 100,000 people, compared to the national average of 149 per 100,000, which pushes their case for the Catalonian vaccine passport.
The Spanish Health Ministry reported 8,527 new cases on Wednesday 24 November and added 38 deaths to the official toll, which now stands at 87,904. A total of 3,172 Covid-19 patients are in hospital, 168 more than on Tuesday. Pressure on ICUs also rose, with Covid-19 patients now occupying 6.13% of all beds – above the 5% low-risk threshold outlined in Spain’s new traffic light system.
The Valencian high court also ruled on Thursday 25 November for the use of Covid passports to enter bars and restaurants. Navarre, Aragon and La Rioja are awaiting court approval, and in the Balearic Islands and Galicia, a certificate is currently required for nighttime venues.
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