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Denmark to develop digital passport showing COVID-19 vaccination

Danish acting Minister of Finance Morten Boedskov
Acting Minister of Finance Morten Boedskov of Denmark at ministry offices in Copenhagen on Wednesday.
(Martin Sylvest / Ritzau)

Denmark’s government said Wednesday it is joining forces with businesses to develop a digital passport that would show whether the holder has been vaccinated against COVID-19, in an effort to facilitate and revive travel.

Danish Finance Minister Morten Boedskov told a news conference that “in three, four months, a digital corona passport will be ready for use in, for example, 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.”

He said it was “absolutely crucial for us to be able to restart Danish society so that companies can get back on track. Many Danish companies are global companies with the whole world as a market.”

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As a first step, before the end of the month, citizens in Denmark will be able to check a Danish health website for official confirmation of whether they have been vaccinated, Boedskov said.

COVID-19 has caused a drastic reduction in international travel as countries try to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Major European airlines, for example, are flying one-tenth of their normal traffic.

As the holidays approach, there has been a surge in demand for testing in both Los Angeles and San Francisco counties.

The Danish government’s presentation was made together 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.

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.

For its part, the European Commission has been weighing proposals to issue vaccination certificates to help get travelers to vacation destinations more easily and avoid another disastrous summer for Europe’s tourism sector. But the EU’s executive arm said that such certificates would be used only for medical purposes for now — for instance, to monitor the possible adverse effects of COVID-19 vaccines.

Some similar digital passports are being developed to help travelers to securely show that they’ve complied with COVID-19 testing requirements. One, called CommonPass, says it could also track vaccinations.

President Biden reinstated COVID-19 travel restrictions on non-U.S. travelers from South Africa, Brazil, Ireland, the United Kingdom and many other countries.

On Tuesday, Estonia said it would allow passengers arriving into the country with a proof of COVID-19 vaccination to avoid quarantine requirements.

The Baltic country said that the certificate must meet certain criteria, including information saying when the vaccine was made, which vaccine was used, the issuer of the vaccine and the vaccine batch number. The certificate must be in Estonian, Russian or English.

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.


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