Government proposal on COVID-19 passport submitted to Parliament
The Government has submitted to Parliament a proposal on the nationwide use of the EU Digital COVID Certificate, or the COVID-19 passport. It is proposed that the provisions on the EU Digital COVID Certificate be added to the Communicable Diseases Act.
The proposal would also include provisions on the processing of personal data relating to the COVID-19 passport and provisions on regulatory control. These temporary provisions would remain in force until the end of this year.
The intention is that the amendment to the Communicable Diseases Act concerning the nationwide use of the EU Digital COVID Certificate would enter into force as soon as possible.
COVID-19 passport as an alternative to restrictions on activities
The COVID-19 passport refers to the EU Digital COVID Certificate, which is available in the My Kanta Pages (a vaccination certificate, a test certificate or a certificate of recovery). If necessary, people can also obtain a paper version of the certificate from healthcare providers.
The Government proposes that - as an alternative to the COVID-19 restrictions issued by it, the Regional State Administrative Agencies and the municipalities - actors, such as entrepreneurs, who are subject to these restrictions could require their customers to present a COVID-19 passport.
The COVID-19 passport would serve as an alternative in situations where the event or premises in question would be subject to restrictions. Such restrictions could include restrictions on opening hours or on the number of participants at events. The COVID-19 passport would not, however, serve as an alternative in situations where the authorities have closed the facilities or prohibited the public event altogether owing to the COVID-19 situation.
The COVID-19 passport could be required in places such as restaurants, nightclubs and public events, gyms and other indoor facilities for sports or physical activity, swimming centres and spas, dance halls, spaces used for group leisure activities, amusement and theme parks, indoor facilities in zoos, indoor playgrounds and play centres, and museums, exhibition spaces and other similar cultural venues.
According to the government proposal, people aged 12 or older could be required to present a COVID-19 passport, but to ensure the realisation of children’s rights, the testing of 12–17-year-olds for the purpose of issuing the passport should be secured in public healthcare, if the child has not received the COVID-19 vaccine doses.
Currently, people aged 12 or older are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine in Finland.
A mobile application to scan the COVID-19 passport
The Government proposes that event organisers requiring customers to show a COVID-19 passport could scan the passport using the COVID-19 passport scanner application approved by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, which can be downloaded on a mobile device. It would be available free of charge from the app store.
The COVID-19 passport scanner would not collect or store data shown on certificates.
Promoting the reopening of society with special consideration for health security
The aim of introducing the COVID-19 passport is to curb the spread of COVID-19 infections at gatherings and thereby promote the reopening of society with special consideration for health security. The COVID-19 passport would make it possible to organise various events on a larger scale, even if the activities in question were otherwise subject to restrictions. By using the COVID-19 passport, customers and participants would be able to enter various premises with due regard to health security.
The government proposal submitted today also includes extending the validity of the temporary provisions of the Communicable Diseases Act concerning entry into the country.
Kirsi Ruuhonen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, [email protected] (legislation on the COVID-19 passport)
Maija Neva, Lawyer, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, [email protected] (legislation on entry into the country)
Joni Hiitola, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Education and Culture, [email protected] (COVID-19 passport: culture and physical activity)
Liisa Huhtala, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, [email protected] (COVID-19 passport)
Mika Pihlajamäki, Information Architect, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, [email protected] (COVID-19 passport scanner application)
National strategy for COVID-19 testing and tracing updated to target testing and tracing more accurately (MSAH press release 14.9.2021)