Consultation on legislative amendment concerning COVID-19 certificates

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The Norwegian Government seeks to use COVID-19 certificates to gradually open up society and keep it more open until the end of the pandemic. Extensive use of COVID-19 certificates is likely to require a broader legal basis. Today, the Norwegian Government is therefore sending a bill concerning the use of COVID-19 certificates out for consultation.

Information in other languages (more languages will be published):

A COVID-19 certificate will allow secure documentation of a person’s name and date of birth, as well as information on whether you have been vaccinated, recently tested negative and whether you are immune as a result of having had COVID-19.

 “A COVID-19 certificate like this can be used to reopen our society more and sooner. That is why we are working on a secure COVID-19 certificate that we can trust. The more benefits we link to such a COVID-19 certificate, the more important it will be to discuss the legal basis. We are hoping for good cooperation with the Storting so we can quickly review the matter”, says Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

The Norwegian Government does not yet have a complete list of every intended use for such a COVID-19 certificate.

“We agree with the advice we have received from the health authorities that COVID-19 certificates can be used to organise large public events, cruises and package holidays. However, the Norwegian Government has greater ambitions for the use of these certificates. We will, for example, also consider whether they can be used locally where rules stricter than the national ones are in effect. There are many issues that need to be clarified before we can reach a conclusion”, says the Prime Minister.

A preliminary version is ready
The first version of the Norwegian COVID-19 certificate is ready. It shows test results and whether you have been vaccinated against COVID-19. You can see it in the Helsenorge app on your phone or at Helsenorge.no, where you can also print a PDF certificate.

“The preliminary version is not verifiable. This means that it is vulnerable to people fabricating false certificates. Consequently, we cannot build on this version”, explains Minister of Health and Care Services Bent Høie.

A system we can trust
The health authorities are continuing work on a verifiable version of the COVID-19 certificate. The plan is to have this version ready early in June, and it will be suitable for use domestically. The final version, which is planned for the end of June, will comply with all EU requirements.

“It will be possible to use this one for travel to other countries if vaccination, a negative test, or having had COVID-19 is a requirement for crossing the border or avoiding travel restrictions such as quarantine”, says Mr. Høie.

The part which concerns travel is being viewed in conjunction with the work done in the EU on a common European framework for COVID-19 certificates.

“When we reopen the borders, we will need to have a system we can trust, in which people are unable to cheat and produce false documentation of having been vaccinated”, stresses Mr Høie.

Outdoor events
The Norwegian Directorate of Health and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health have outlined the maximum number of participants to be allowed at public outdoor events this summer. This outline is consistent with the Norwegian Government’s reopening plan and increases the number of people that can congregate during each step of the reopening.

The Norwegian Government is of the opinion that COVID-19 certificates and tests taken at points of entry may be an option for large outdoor events this summer. 

“It is important to stress that this is a preliminary plan. Firstly, problems can arise in the work to develop the certificate. Secondly, there are many questions that need to be answered before the certificate can be used. Thirdly, we must apply the experience we gain in the first steps before we move on to the next. In short, much is still uncertain”, says Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

These are the proposed numbers of participants at outdoor events at steps 2, 3, and 4 of the reopening plan. There may be adjustments to numbers and cohorts based on developments in the infection situation and experiences made in steps 2 and 3. The reopening pace still relies on data, not dates.

Without designated seating (currently 200 people):

 

 

Without a test or certificate

With a test or certificate

Step 2

200

2 x 200

Step 3

4 x 200

Max. 50% capacity, up to 2 000 in cohorts of 500

Step 4

1 500

Max. 75% capacity, but up to 5 000

 

With designated seating (currently 3 x 200):

 

 

Without a test or certificate

With a test or certificate

Step 2

3 x 200

5 x 200

Step 3

4 x 500

Max. 50% capacity, up to 5 000 in cohorts of 500

Step 4

5 000

Max. 75% capacity, but up to 10 000