Belgian residents getting tested to travel with the EU’s Digital Covid test Certificate are being warned to take into account a 2-hour difference between the time of the test and the hour displayed on the app.
With a negative PCR test result, tourists can travel within the EU for a short period of time, but the hour shown on Belgium’s certificate is different from the time at which the test was taken, warned the Ghent University Hospital (UZ Gent) on Wednesday.
“On the European test certificate, the time of your test is converted to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), which is two hours earlier than the Belgian summer time,” Karlien Wouters of the UZ Gent told The Brussels Times.
“For example, if you had your test taken at 9:00 AM, it will show 7:00 AM on the European test certificate. But if your test is only valid for 48 hours, a two-hour difference can quickly cause problems or stress,” she said.
As an increasing number of young people, who have not (yet) been fully vaccinated, are getting tested to travel now, the test centre of the UZ Gent “received many calls from people who did not understand why the time on their certificate did not correspond to the time they were here.”
“This is important for people who are tight on time and only have 48 hours,” Wouters said. “The two-hour difference can make their test invalid at the time they have to show the certificate.”
As it concerns time zones, it is likely that the issue not only exists for Belgium, but also for tests taken in, for example, French and Dutch centres, according to her.
Currently, the UZ Gent is warning travellers of the time difference when they make an appointment, but “we hope that the certificate will be adjusted, or that there will be a clear explanation on it soon.”
“It just gets very complex, with all those different rules for how old the test can be in different countries,” Wouters said. “When this is added on top of it all, how can people still calculate when their test has to be taken?”