Denmark is one of the first countries in Europe to implement such a system and the government said it should remain in place until the entire adult population has had access to the vaccine which should be before the end of the summer.
It cannot however be used for travel although the government hopes it will eventually be used that way. The European Commission is working on the launch of a digital “green certificate” to travel freely in the EU again.
Actually, Denmark launched a COVID-19 “passport” , that will help to allow non-essential businesses to reopen to customers.
WHAT IS CORONA PASS
The “coronapas” is available via a secure application or in paper format to people who have either been fully vaccinated, have tested positive for COVID-19 two to 12 weeks previously or negative over the previous 72 hours.
HOW WILL THE PASSES WORK
Key to the EU’s digital certificate is a QR code – a machine-readable graphic code made up of black and white squares – that contains personal data and the EU’s Commission says it will be safe and secure. It is working with the World Health Organization to ensure the certificate is recognised beyond Europe.
The 27 member states also want to include non-EU countries such as Norway, Iceland and Switzerland, with officials saying earlier this week that vaccinated travellers from the US may also be able to visit Europe this summer.
So in Denmark, the Businesses that allow customers in without a valid “coronapas” will be fined €400 and up to €6,000 for repeat offences while clients will be fined €330, the Ministry of Justice has warned.
Some retailers are unhappy about the coercive measure.
“It is an unreasonable responsibility to impose (this control) on a small trader. It would have been much better if, for example, the police made inspection visits, like train inspectors,” said Jakob Brandt, head of the SMVdanmark federation of small and medium sized businesses, in an interview with the daily Politiken.
The “Men in Black” — who regularly protest against restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the deadly virus — have called for a protest against the “coronapas” and mass testing programme on Saturday.
“The Corona passport and the mass surveillance and registration of Danes that we put up with testify to a society based on distrust in citizens,” the group said in a Facebook post
Gyms, theatres and cinemas on Thursday welcomed Danes back thanks to a new round of Covid-19 restriction easing and a reliance on a “corona pass”.
Armed with the pass people in Denmark can already visit restaurants, museums or the hairdresser.
Now the new certificate — confirming that they have either tested negative in the past 72 hours, been vaccinated, or recently recovered from Covid-19 — will also give them access to other places that have been off limits due to the pandemic.
“I don’t mind showing the corona pass at all. I think it’s very good, you feel safe while everything is reopening,” 22-year-old student Ottilia, told AFP as she stopped by to buy tickets for an upcoming show at the Falkoner cinema in central Copenhagen.
“I’m very excited, I have missed going to the cinema. I’m looking forward to seeing a movie on a big screen again,” project manager Stina, who had arrived with a group of few friends to watch a new Danish movie, said.
Launched in early March, as zoos reopened, the use of the pass has been a requirement for each new stage of Denmark’s reopening.
“It’s a major success because it has combined the reopening of the economy and has boosted testing,” Lars Ramme, head of tourism at the Danish Chamber of Commerce, said.
Bars, cafes and restaurants have been using it since April 21.
“I honestly think that after four, five months of lockdown, at least in Copenhagen, people will do anything to go and grab a beer and get some food,” Mikkel Bjergso, founder of micro-brewery Mikkeler.
It currently allows people to enter certain businesses — including hairdressers, beauty salons and driving schools — with the aim to gradually reopen the economy by the end of May.
Some 7 per cent of Denmark’s 5.8 million inhabitants have been fully vaccinated and a total of 13.3 per cent have received at least one dose.
Vaccinations in the country have slowed down in recent weeks after it suspended the use of the jab developed by AstraZeneca over concerns about rare but serious blood clot events in vaccinated people. The use of the vaccine remains suspended pending further assessments of its side effects.
CYPRUS OF GOVERNMENT
The requirement of a special pass to enter malls, churches and restaurants is a temporary one to ensure a smooth transition into the next phase of less restrictive measures, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said on Thursday.
The minister said that the return “to more normal conditions” must be done safely and carefully. For this reason, he said, not all restrictions can be completely removed at this stage, but they are adapting to the data of the current period.
“The de-escalation of measures will be gradual and depending on the epidemiological picture as it evolves,” he added.
He added that to ensure more safety during people’s presence in specific areas where crowds gather such as shopping malls, restaurants, churches, along with the use of a mask and the observance of other personal protection measures, it was decided that people need to:
To have been vaccinated with at least the first dose at least three weeks earlier or to have been infected by Covid-19 in the past six months
If one of the two above measures does not apply, and as a temporary solution and until vaccination coverage progresses further people aged over 12 should present a negative PCR or rapid test, with a validity of 72 hours, he said.
“This measure is temporary and will be applied for a transitional period in order to ensure that our travels and social contacts are made as safe as possible for our health and for public health,” Ioannou said. The goal, he said, is to achieve the desired immunity through vaccinations.
He also clarified that the responsibility for the control of possession of proof is not the responsibility of the businesses but of police and officials of competent ministries and departments depending on their areas of responsibility.
The cabinet on Wednesday night decided, from Monday, to lift the obligation of sending an SMS before going out, to reopen most closed businesses and to introduce a so-called Covid pass for people to be allowed into hospitality venues, churches, gyms, shops and other places.
Ioannou said that an application will be introduced for obtaining a digital Covid pass but more information would be given by the deputy ministry for innovation. The pass was originally being referred to in ministry announcements as a ‘coronapass’. However, CoronaPass is a trademarked app developed by Microsoft and specifically refers to a digital-only system.
A digital pass is not expected to be implemented right away in Cyprus and people will likely have to present paper evidence of test, vaccine or proof of past illness when the measure starts from Monday, and until a digital version is available.
However after Denmark and Cyprus, they follow other countries such the Flemish government is considering introducing a system with a “corona pass” to give people in Flanders back some freedom from 11 July, according to Flemish Welfare Minister Wouter Beke.
Also France wants to be the first EU member country to put in place a COVID-19 travel pass, a first example of digital green pass the European Commission wants to roll out across the bloc by mid-June.
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