Covid passports could deliver a ‘summer of joy,’ Denmark hopes
(CNN) – Like many countries around the world, Denmark is desperate to reopen portions of its economy frozen by epidemics.
The state of less than six million people has become one of the most efficient vaccination distributors in Europe and aims to offer one job to its entire population by June.
Danish caretaker Finance Minister Morten Bödskov last week expressed the possibility of introducing so-called coronavirus passports by the end of the month.
“Denmark is still greatly affected by the Corona epidemic,” he said. “But there are parts of Danish society that need to move forward, and a business community that needs to be able to travel.”
The government has indicated that the February deadline may be ambitious, but a relatively small Scandinavian country can still become the first country in the world to formally embrace technology to open its borders in this controversial way.
‘This is original’
With exports suffering and stuck in limbo with important trade operations, Denmark’s Foreign Minister JP Kofod says the move is important to keep Denmark ahead of the game – even if the country is under lockdown until 28 February.
As one of the world’s most digitized countries, Denmark is ideally positioned to be a testing ground for this new technology, drawing on public and private collaboration, Kofod says.
“This is fundamental because if we want to re-export and start trading again, see business-related people reuniting, things like the Corona Passport are fundamental to doing that,” he says.
Time is running out
Danish business leaders want their country to have a blast with Kovid’s passport.
Lars Ramme Nielsen of the Danish Chamber of Commerce also advocates rapid adoption of the technology, saying time is of the essence.
“If we do nothing, if we sit and wait, nothing will happen,” he told CNN. “If you start when Kovid-19 has left the society, it will be too late. We are very positive with this project, we will have the summer of music, the joy of football. So it is better that you soon Hee, now, start planning. “
Despite the apparent imminence of this attempt to unlock its borders, Denmark is currently living under its most strict Kovid-19 lockdown to date amid growing concerns over the spread of the Kent strain of viruses identified in the UK.
This means that anyone entering the country should produce a negative Kovid test and go into quarantine upon arrival. Restaurants, bars and hairdressers are all closed with a gathering of more than five people.
The European Football Championship, which Denmark is scheduled to host this summer, seems like a far-off prospect.
So how will Denmark’s Kovid-19 “passport” work?
Roughly four formulated solutions are based on two types of technology. A remote cloud depends on the server where the information is stored in bulk. The second uses blockchain, a more complex system that may be better at protecting privacy.
Since personal medical data is very sensitive, it is a difficult decision. This is why many European nations covered by stringent EU privacy laws appear desperate for someone else to go first.
Denmark expects the Vaccine Passport Scheme to be implemented in the summer season.
Ida Marie Odgaard / Ritzou Scanpeaks / AFP / Getty Images
The high level of investment in developing the Kovid passport system indicates high private sector optimism that they will become a common way to open borders.
The International Air Transport Association has been working on one since late 2020. The nonprofit Commons Project Foundation, giant IBM computing and others creating alternatives to secure ID company Clear.
Some of these apps – such as the Commons Project’s cloud-designed CommonPass – are already being used by airlines in a limited way.
IBM, which has worked on its “Digital Health Pass” worldwide for nine months, uses QR codes that can be updated to reveal all kinds of medical data that may be useful as an epidemic. is.
“It’s a global initiative, and we’ve put it in a toolbox for any government to use,” says Carsten Storner of IBM Denmark. “It’s not just vaccines. We’ve opened it up to store all the relevant data for Kovid-19. It’s your test results, your antigen test and who knows what will happen in terms of variants in the future.”
Denmark’s planned passports will be rolled out to business travelers for the first time, eager to rekindle commerce with foreign markets that account for one-third of its GDP.
Mette Dobel, regional president of cement and mining firm FLSmidth, knows how important it is for her employees to hit the road to open up new markets and maintain existing customer relationships.
“We are a business that cannot be operated through a web shop,” she tells CNN. “Face-to-face interaction, especially often on relatively large projects, is necessary. We have 300 people in Denmark who travel all the time. We need our people to travel.”
Once the business sector is up and running, there is hope that Denmark’s hospitality and large-scale entertainment sector may again adopt a coronovirus passport.
IBM’s Digital Health Pass app creates an online vaccine credential that can be stored in a mobile wallet.
With a strong digital culture, Denmark may be the right testing ground for this new technology.
But not everyone welcomes the concept, and fears it may build a two-tier society that harms the nonprofit.
“I am against it because I am breastfeeding. I think the passport will make it very difficult for people who do not have or do not want to have a vaccine to navigate society. I want us in the A team and B team Will split., “She says.
Peddar Huelplund, an elected official and health spokesman of the Red-Green Alliance political group, asks that the country cannot wait until everyone is immunized in the summer, which is just a few months.
“The question is whether it makes sense at all,” he says. “The more people we vaccinate, the lower the fertility rate. It is in the interest of the business to reopen for everyone, and allow more people to take advantage of it.”
Business leaders are divided on the subject.
Trade bodies are lobbying the passport scheme as soon as possible, but restaurants such as Philip Helgstadt, owner of restaurant Strandhotellet in Dragoer, a port city south of Copenhagen, are unhappy.
Helgstrand says that it is not possible for small businesses to be responsible for examining and handling each client’s Kovid data, especially for foreign travelers such as cruise ship passengers who once visited their pre-pandemic customers. Make up a large part.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate for us to ask anyone who comes to the restaurant,” he says. “We already have to ask ‘Have you got a mask? Don’t even sit next to this and that.’ It should be passport control and the police to look for passports. “
These arguments are not unique to Denmark.
Last year, the advocacy group Privacy International warned of the vaccine rollout, “opportunistically not to be seen as yet another data grab,” warning that “until everyone has access to an effective vaccine” Such passports would be inappropriate for entry into service. ”
There is also concern about how Kovid passports can operate globally.
After the purchase of coronovirus vaccines and the roll-off, the European Union’s next crisis may focus on how to standardize vaccination records to make the Schengen agreement on most central to the block’s principles: freedom of movement .
If each country adopts a different approach to adopting Kovid-19 passports and chooses different systems, things can quickly go haywire.
Trade officials say a Kovid passport could give Denmark “the joy of summer”.
Michael Drew-Hansen / Ritzau via ScanPix / AFP Getty Image
Each member state looks at how the subject is affected by the state of its finances.
Greece, which lost 70% of its tourism revenue last year, is reportedly planning a Kovid passport, as is Sweden. There are some forms of digital immunity documentation in the works of both Hungary and Poland.
Europe’s most powerful countries, Germany and France, have yet to support such initiatives, despite already similar laws for other viral diseases such as yellow fever.
In a new Brexitid UK, where more than 14 million people have already received their first dose of the vaccine, the concept of a coronovirus passport has received little support, although it is still being debated.
Denmark knows of the success of its passport as to whether other countries will actually recognize it and not within the EU bloc.
“Of course, it is important that passports will be recognized in other countries and that work has to be ensured now,” says Kofod, Danish foreign minister.
Lars Sandhall Sorensen of the Confederation Danish industry sees room for the UN and WHO to be involved in some kind of certification process. Without this, he says, Denmark would have to cut down what it needed to achieve.
“Denmark is a nation that treats and does business with the rest of the world,” he says. “We close that conversation with the world, so it prevents a society like Danish.
“We want it to be an international project. We want to be able to negotiate with other countries. But we start in Denmark to show that it can be done – in the country but also outside.”