Bulgaria has issued close to a million EU Digital Covid Certificates

The total number of EU Digital Covid Certificates generated in Bulgaria in the past month is close to a million, the Health Ministry said on July 1.

The system in Bulgaria for generating an EU Digital Covid Certificate, which was built by state-owned IT firm Informatsionno Obsluzhvane, came into operation on June 1 2021, which was 30 days before the European regulation for the issuance of certificates became mandatory for all EU countries, the statement said.

The statement said that certificates for having completed the vaccination cycle added up to 966 517, while close to 16 000 were for people who had undergone Covid-19 and this had been confirmed with a positive PCR test.

(In comparison to the figure given for the certificates issued of having completed the vaccination cycle – meaning either having received a second dose or one from a single-dose vaccine, the July 1 daily report by the national information system said that in Bulgaria, a total of 805 473 people in Bulgaria had completed the vaccination cycle.)

Bulgaria was among the first seven countries in the EU to start issuing the EU Digital Covid Certificate, which allowed Bulgarian citizens to travel freely in countries that integrated their systems earlier than the deadline, the statement said.

A total of 253 413 certificates had been downloaded, a process not requiring an electronic signature.

The statement said that the number of people who have a document in Bulgaria is much higher, as most of them receive one on paper from their GPs or vaccination centre.

Users can also download an electronic version of the certificate from https://his.bg, through an electronic signature and store it on their mobile devices. This way, they need not have to print or copy it for each trip, which would make it much easier for travellers to cross borders, the statement said.

The statement said that as of the morning of July 1, the system for issuing a European Digital Covid certificate, which is part of the National Health Information System (NHIS), also offers the opportunity to generate documentation showing a negative test result for coronavirus. The validity of the certificate for a negative PCR test is 72 hours, and for antigen, 48 hours from the release of the results.

The document can be issued by any laboratory that tested the sample and entered the necessary data into the NHIS. Some of the laboratories that have connected their systems to the NHIS are already successfully issuing certificates for a negative coronavirus test result, the statement said.

The certificate is available at https://www.his.bg, and can be downloaded by entering the Bulgarian personal identity number, identity card number and national reference number, which must be requested from the laboratory that tested the sample.

There is currently a six-week grace period for EU countries and the European Economic Area (EEA), which have so far not integrated their systems with those of the European Commission and are still unable to issue Covid certificates. The statement said that these countries are Sweden, the Netherlands, Ireland, Malta, Hungary, Romania and Switzerland.

As of July 1, the mobile application which the authorities empowered to do so use to verify the European digital certificates is working, the statement said. The software developed by Informatsionno Obsluzhvane is installed on all devices that will be used in border health control.

The reservation system for vaccination against Covid-19 reports more than 200 000 reservations for a date and time of vaccination, the statement said.

More than 190 000 of these have already been fulfilled, which is almost a quarter of all vaccinated, the statement said.

From March 1 2021 until now, the website of the NHIS  http://www.his.bg  reports more than 6.5 million visits, with more than 820 000 registrations, according to the ministry.

(Photo: Christophe Licoppe, via the EC Audiovisual Service)

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