Tag Archives: European Union

EU Digital COVID Certificate : A Comedy Of Errors!

EU Digital COVID Certificate : A Comedy Of Errors!

Will travellers be BARRED from entering Europe unless they get the right vaccines approved by the EU Digital COVID Certificate???

Find out why this is just a comedy of errors, and what the FACTS really are!

 

EU Digital COVID Certificate : A Comedy Of Errors!

The EU Digital COVID Certificate went live on 1 July 2021, connecting 21 EU nations into a unified system that manages COVID-19 certificates.

Unfortunately, the healthcare portal – CodeBlue – triggered panic when they made this shocking claim (our emphasis) :

“Malaysians vaccinated with AstraZeneca-Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine may be barred from entering Europe, as the European Union’s (EU) Digital Covid Certificate — which came into force yesterday — only recognises EU-approved shots for free travel within the bloc.

They then went on to explain how the EMA has only approved AstraZeneca vaccine factories in the EU, US, the UK and China.

The implication is that since people who received AstraZeneca vaccines manufactured in South Korea and Thailand “may be barred from entering Europe“.

In truth – there is NOTHING to suggest that anyone will be barred from entering the EU because their vaccines were not manufactured in an approved facility.

 

EU Digital COVID Certificate : Just A Certificate For EU Residents

The CodeBlue article makes it sound like the EU Digital COVID Certificate is a prerequisite for travel into Europe. That’s really not the case.

The CodeBlue article also wrongly suggested that people could be barred from entering Europe merely because they were vaccinated with AstraZeneca vaccine that were manufactured in factories not recognised by the EMA.

Here are the facts…

Fact #1 : EUDCC Is An Immunity Passport

Countries around the world are coming up with immunity passports to authenticate people who have been vaccinated or have immunity against COVID-19.

The EU Digital COVID Certificate is a digital verification system that certifies that the person has

  • been vaccinated against COVID-19, or
  • received a negative test result *, or
  • recovered from COVID-19

The EUDCC basically confirms that the person does not have COVID-19, or has immunity against COVID-19.

* Validity : 72 hours (PCR tests), 48 hours (rapid antigen tests)

Fact #2 : EUDCC Is For Schengen Area Residents

The EU Digital COVID Certificate is meant to be used by residents in the 27 EU countries, and a few non-EU countries that are in the Schengen Area, or have an open border with the EU :

  • Iceland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Norway
  • San Marino
  • Switzerland
  • Vatican City

Fact #3 : EUDCC Not Applicable To Non-EU Residents

Everyone else not residing in the list of countries above generally do not qualify for the EU Digital COVID Certificate.

After all, they will have their own vaccination or test certificate from their own countries!

However, travellers from other countries who have been fully vaccinated with an EU-authorised vaccine may be issued an EU Digital Covid Certificate “on a case by case basis“.

Fact #4 : EUDCC Not Required For Free Movement Within EU

The EU Digital COVID Certificate is “not a pre-condition” to travel freely within the European Union.

However, it will exempt the traveller from free movement restrictions in EU member states that are designed to curb COVID-19.

Those without the EUDCC will simply have to comply with COVID-19 free movement restrictions in a particular EU member state, which can include testing and/or quarantine.

Fact #5 : EMA Approval For Vaccine Use In EU, Not Travel

The EMA (European Medicines Agency) evaluates and approves COVID-19 vaccines for use within the EU. This approval process does not include just the clinical data but also the manufacturing sites.

Only EMA-approved vaccines produced at EMA-approved manufacturing sites can be administered within the European Union, as EMA told Health Policy Watch :

It is important to note that in the context of a vaccine authorisation the company has to submit a list of manufacturing sites to EMA and it is EMA’s role to evaluate and potentially approve it. The benefits and risks of Covid-19 vaccines need to be properly assessed based on detailed information on manufacturing as well as on nonclinical data and well-designed clinical trials.

However, EMA vaccine approval has NO DIRECT BEARING on travel restrictions by EU member states!

In fact, European Commission spokesperson, Stefan De Keersmaecke, said :

“As set out in the Council Recommendation on the temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU, adopted by Member States on 20 May,  entry into the EU should be allowed to people fully vaccinated with one of the vaccines authorised in the EU.”

“This does not mean that the vaccines has to be produced in facilities covered by the marketing authorisation in the EU.”

“Member States could also allow entry for people vaccinated with vaccines having completed the WHO Emergency Use Listing process.”

Fact #6 : EU Member States Decide On Entry Requirements

The EU Digital Covid Certificate is only meant to provide a standardised system to certify an EU resident is “COVID-19-free”.

It is ultimately up to each EU member state to decide on recognising certificates from other countries, vaccines manufactured in other countries, and even vaccines that are not approved in the EU.

On this matter, European Commission spokesperson, Stefan De Keersmaecke, said :

Member states are free to accept the documentation issued in third countries for vaccination. These should contain information that at least allows [the country] to identify the person, the type of vaccine and the date of the administration of the vaccine.”

Member states could also allow entry for people vaccinated with vaccines having completed the WHO Emergency Use Listing process.

Fact #7 : Vaccine Factory Approval Not Necessary For Entry Into EU

This must be emphasised again – the approval of any vaccine factory is NOT necessary for entry into the EU.

This was already clarified by European Commission spokesperson, Stefan De Keersmaecke, on 30 June 2021.

But because of erroneous reporting by various media organisations including CodeBlue, the European Union clarified again on 7 July 2021 :

“Entry into the EU is in principle allowed to fully vaccinated persons with one of the vaccines authorised in the EU, including those produced in facilities not covered by marketing authorisation in the EU.

“Member States could also allow entry for people vaccinated with vaccines that have not been yet authorised in the EU but have completed the WHO Emergency Use Listing process.”

As you can see – their 7 July 2021 statement is the same as it was on 30 June 2021. Nothing has actually changed.

We should note that the EU also said, “There is no obstacle or hurdle. Therefore, some recent reporting concerning the AstraZeneca vaccines’ origin is inaccurate.

Fact #8 : Vaccine Passports Are Political Decisions

I would like to end by pointing out that vaccine passports are ultimately, political decisions.

It is up to the European Commission and individual EU member states, and of course, all other countries around the world to decide WHICH vaccine / immunity passports they will accept.

In the end, EVERY COUNTRY wants to open its borders to tourism and business. It is in their interest to accept ANY genuine proof of vaccination for entry into their country.

Right now, it’s a matter of negotiating reciprocal recognition, and how to authenticate the different digital certificates.

So stop panicking over vaccine or immunity passports. Get yourself vaccinated first!

 

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Eurocham Leak Of Malaysia Shutdown : Please Don’t Panic!

Did the leaked Eurocham circular warn of a total shutdown of the economy in Malaysia?

Find out why it was really just a storm in a teacup…

 

Eurocham Leak Of Malaysia Shutdown : What Happened?

On 23 January 2021, a Eurocham (EU-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry) circular to their members leaked and circulated on social media – WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Many netizens and even media outlets blared warnings of a TOTAL LOCKDOWN immediately after 4 February 2021.

 

Eurocham Leak Of Malaysia Shutdown : Nothing Shocking…

When the circular leaked, there were expressions of SHOCK! Horror! Outrage! online.

The truth is – those who actually read the circular carefully would be nonplussed about what it revealed…

It was really an appeal to the manufacturing industry to help cut down on the infection rate, so that the economy does NOT need to shut down.

So please don’t panic over the threat of a complete shutdown of the economy. We went through it once with the first MCO in March 2020.

It will be no different. We survived that, and if it happens again, we will be ready for it. Remember, my fellow Malaysians – MALAYSIA BOLEH!!!

And if you really want to help prevent a shut down of the economy, please FOLLOW THE SOP!

 

Eurocham Leak Of Malaysia Shutdown : The Facts

For those who want a play-by-play of why there’s nothing to worry about in the Eurocham circular, here are our points…

Fact #1 : It Was KKM With Clear Stand On Complete Shutdown

The circular noted that it was the Malaysia Ministry of Health (KKM) that “made a clear stand of the matter of a complete shutdown of the economy“.

It did not even mention what that “clear stand” was, but KKM has stated publicly that they recommended a strict lockdown to the government several times in the past.

Fact #2 : Shutdown Was Always A Possibility

A complete shutdown of the economy, which happened with the first MCO, was always a possibility.

The Malaysia Ministry of Health shared publicly that they had recommended the reimposition of those strict measures several times in the past.

Fact #3 : Shutdown Was Predicated On Infection Rate

What many people did not notice or care is that the “threat” of a complete shutdown of the economy was predicated on the infection rate.

Should the infection rate not decrease, the Malaysian government will announce a shutdown / strict lockdown immediately after 4 February 2021.

In other words – if the infection rate can be brought down, the shutdown or strict lockdown will not happen at all.

Fact #4 : Shutdown Was Overruled In The Past

The Malaysian government overruled KKM’s recommendations for strict MCO in the past, so even their “clear stand” this time may not amount to much.

In fact, the circular states that the Malaysian government is considering either a shutdown or a strict lockdown (see the quote in Fact #3).

Fact #5 : Industry Was Asked To Help Cut Down Infection Rate

The circular points out that the manufacturing sector accounts for a large number of clusters, and worker dormitories, transportation and social activities were identified as key problem areas.

Therefore, the meeting was to get the manufacturing industry to help clamp down on the infection rate, by addressing those problem areas.

Fact #6 : It Was An Urgent Appeal To Forestall A Shutdown

If the government had already made up their mind to shutdown the economy, they would not bother to call for such meetings with industry representatives.

It was obvious from the circular that the Malaysian government was urgently appealing for industries to solve the problem of persistently high COVID-19 infection rates.

Hence, the circular listed two urgent measures that companies were requested to implement immediately.

 

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Adobe Cloud Signature Consortium Announced

Kuala Lumpur, 5 July 2016 – On July 1, 2016, a new European Union signature regulation came into effect, helping pave the way for global adoption of secure digital signatures. Aligned with this milestone that will help take digital signatures mainstream, Adobe today announced the Cloud Signature Consortium, a group comprised of leading industry and academic organizations committed to building a new open standard for cloud-based digital signatures across mobile and web – so anyone can digitally sign documents from anywhere.

Digital signatures are the most advanced and secure type of electronic signature, increasingly used by businesses and governments around the world. However, using standards-compliant digital signatures today can be a cumbersome, time consuming process that keeps people tethered to their desktop. In many cases, they need certificate-based IDs stored on a physical device, like a USB token or smart card. This approach doesn’t meet increasing consumer and business expectations for simple and engaging experiences that work anywhere, on any device.

And, while some cloud-based digital signature solutions exist, they are proprietary and fragmented, rather than an open approach that offers a choice of certificate providers. As a leader and founding member of the new consortium, Adobe is collaborating with industry leaders to develop an open standard that will bring the world’s most secure form of electronic signing to over seven billion mobile devices around the globe.

“Adobe has a history of pioneering and advancing industry standards like PDF. We embrace open standards and, where none exist, we help create them,” said Bryan Lamkin, executive vice president and general manager of Digital Media, Adobe. “With more than six billion digital and electronic signature transactions processed each year through Adobe Sign and Adobe Document Cloud, we are focused on moving the signature industry forward. Today, in collaboration with the Cloud Signature Consortium, we are proud to advance an open standard for cloud-based digital signatures.”

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Why an open standard is needed

The new standard created by the consortium will be critical to furthering digital transformation of business on a global scale by giving everyone access to secure digital signature solutions across a full range of cloud applications and mobile devices. Once implemented, the standard will benefit processes where signer identification is critical, such as applying for a marriage or business license, social security benefits, or signing for a large loan.

While initially focused on the EU, the Cloud Signature Consortium aims to build a global network of industry contributors and intends to release new standard specifications by the end of 2016—with the first cloud-based implementations to follow shortly thereafter. The consortium was inspired by the need to meet the highest level requirements of the European Union’s Regulation on Identification and Trust Services (eIDAS), but its impact is expected to be global as demand for highly secure digital solutions continues to rise.

“Adobe has a long history of successfully helping to establish and drive the adoption of open standards,” said Melissa Webster, vice president of content and digital media technologies, IDC. “An open standard focused on cloud-based digital signatures will not only help companies save time and resources, but ultimately move an entire industry forward with best practices that benefit all.”

In addition to Adobe, initial Cloud Signature Consortium members, which span EU cloud-based digital signature providers, trust services providers, academics and standards and security focused organizations, include:

  • Asseco Data Systems – Poland
  • Bundesdruckerei / D-Trust – Germany
  • Cryptolog / Universign – France
  • Docapost / Certinomis – France
  • InfoCert – Italy
  • Intarsys Consulting – Germany
  • Intesi Group – Italy
  • Izenpe – Spain
  • Safelayer – Spain
  • SwissSign – Switzerland
  • Graz University of Technology – Austria
  • Unibridge – Norway

 

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