Desperate to reopen parts of the economy frozen by the pandemic, Denmark’s government is now joining forces with businesses to create a summer of joy in Denmark. By developing a digital passport that shows whether the holder has been vaccinated against COVID-19, the Danes want to facilitate and revive travel. Let’s hope for a summer of joy in Denmark – and other places in the world.
Denmark, a kingdom with less than six million inhabitants, has proved to be the leading vaccination distributor in Europe, and the aim is to have vaccinated the whole population by June. The COVID-19 passport will provide personalized documentation of a negative COVID-19 test result to be presented while traveling across country borders.
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COVID-19 passport on your mobile phone
In a news conference last month by the Danish government in cooperation with representatives of the country’s two main business organizations: the Confederation of Danish Industries, which represents Denmark’s major companies, and the Danish Chamber of Commerce, Danish Finance Minister Morten Boedskov, said that “in three, four months, a digital corona passport will be ready for use, for example in business travel. It will be the extra passport that you will be able to have on your mobile phone that documents that you have been vaccinated,” Boedskov said. “We can be among the first in the world to have it and can show it to the rest of the world.”
Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod added that this move is vital to keep Denmark ahead of the game taken into account the sufferings of crucial Danish business operations.
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Digital systems reduce bureaucracy
As soon as a laboratory has analyzed and released the test result, the COVID-19 passport can be viewed, downloaded and printed – just as long as the test is no more than 7 days old and the result was negative.
Denmark, like neighboring Nordic and Baltic countries, has in recent years moved toward digitizing systems to reduce bureaucracy, using online platforms that support electronic authentication and digital signatures to enable paperless communications across both the private and public sectors.
However, since personal medical data is so sensitive, it’s a difficult task to make a COVID-19 passport. That is why many European nations covered by stringent EU privacy laws appear desperate for someone else to go first. Certain rules apply in some countries, and changes in such rules can come into effect on short notice.
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Denmark is not alone
Denmark is not alone. Some similar digital passports, for example one called CommonPass, is being developed to help travelers to securely show that they’ve complied with COVID-19 testing requirements. The International Air Transport Association has been working on one since late 2020. Others with options ready to go include the nonprofit Commons Project Foundation, computing giant IBM and secure ID company Clear.
The Danish COVID-19 passport has been created by the Danish Ministry of Health, the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Danish Police.
The Danish government said it would decide later whether the digital passport should be used for purposes other than travel to help reopen public life.
Summer of Joy in Denmark, written by Tor Kjolberg
Feature image (on top): Hannah Busing / Unsplash