Coronavirus live news: China approves vaccine for three-year-olds; Malta says UK made ‘political’ decision over travel

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EU justice commissioner Didier Reynders announced the figure to the European parliament ahead of a vote to enshrine the document in law in time for the continent’s summer tourism season.

The certificate – showing the bearer’s immunity to Covid-19 either through vaccination or previous infection, or their negative test status – is to be used for intra-EU travel from 1 July. But the commission wants as many EU countries as possible to start earlier.

“The more certificates we can already issue, the easier the process will be during the summer – otherwise, we risk a big bang on the first of July, which we cannot afford,” Reynders said. As of today, nine EU countries were already issuing the documents, with more than a million citizens have received such certificates – which can be presented either online or on paper – already.

EU lawmakers and capitals also agreed that, when it comes to proof of vaccinations, only the jabs authorised by the European Medicines Agency – so far those from BioNTech/Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson – would be accepted in all EU countries.

But individual countries can also decide to accept, for their territory only, others, such as one produced by China, or Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.

To prevent discrimination against the unvaccinated – particularly younger Europeans who have not yet been able to access jabs given in priority to the elderly – much emphasis has also been put on testing.

The parliament failed to make Covid tests for travel free of charge, but extracted money and concessions from the European Commission to make them more affordable.

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