Ecolo rejects use of ‘corona pass’ for daily life ahead of Consultative Committee
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Ecolo rejects use of ‘corona pass’ for daily life ahead of Consultative Committee

Credit: Belga

Belgium should not implement a “corona pass” which would give people who have been vaccinated or tested positive access to various services in daily life, according to Ecolo co-president Jean-Marc Nollet.

Last Tuesday, the Flemish government announced it is considering introducing a system with a “corona pass, allowing people who have been vaccinated or who have recently tested negative to do more, such as go to the cinema or a restaurant, however, Nollet said the pass should be only be used for “large-scale events”, such as festivals and concerts.

“The idea of this pass is not our cup of tea at all. For larger events, we would need to specify very clear conditions, like limiting it in time. Other options must be offered too, like PCR tests, antigenic tests and this must be free,” he said on La Première (RTBF) on Tuesday morning.

Flemish Public Health Minister Wouter Beke emphasised that it would only be implemented from 11 July, when Flanders aims to give all adults in the Region a chance to receive their first dose.

Beke pointed out that the pass should not be reserved exclusively for those who have already been vaccinated, but could also mean freedom for those who were unable to get the shot for medical reasons, and that “there are alternatives for that, they can present a negative test, for example.”

According to virologist and interfederal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht a special GEMS working group, which includes lawyers, ethicists and sociologists, is drafting an opinion on the corona pass.

Belgian Consumer Rights group Test Achats sent letters to Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, as well as the Health Minister and the three regional minister-presidents, urging them to clarify the government’s recommendations on the pass, emphasising that some people are very much in favour of it, while others see it as a threat to our fundamental rights.

The organisation backed the argument from Nollet, arguing that certain conditions should be clarified, including whether the health situation justifies the pass today, at what point such a system will no longer be considered necessary and more.

The Consultative Committee on Tuesday is expected to discuss the possible introduction of this pass, alongside a broader “summer plan” and the full reopening of terraces.

Nollet added that the government should also discuss the subject of culture, arguing that going back to the theatre and the cinema is “a huge need, it’s vital and the time has come.”