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TECHNOLOGY

Denmark calls for bids to build digital coronavirus passports

Denmark has called for bids to build a new corona passport app that can show holders' vaccination and antibody status, and PCR and rapid test results, with the winner having just over two months to deliver.

Denmark calls for bids to build digital coronavirus passports
A coronavirus passport might allow audiences to return to the Royal Danish Theatre. Photo: Niels Christian Vilmann/Ritzau Scanpix

“The goal is for the coronavirus passport to contribute to a gradual, safe and effective reopening of Denmark,” the country’s Agency for Digitization, wrote in a press release announcing the tender.

“The specific applications will, among other things, depend on the assessment of health professionals. The solution will be developed in partnership with business and cultural organisations to ensure that it meets their individual demands.”

Denmark’s government was in February one of the first countries to announce plans for a digital coronavirus passport. It has now divided the work into two parts: developing a “user-friendly” app, and updating the health system’s IT infrastructure so that it can as seamlessly as possible transfer the required information.

As the app is intended to be shown at borders while travelling, the developer will also need to ensure that the app meets EU requirements for coronavirus passports. 

The agency has already held meetings with four companies to discuss the project, the US IT giant IBM, the Danish IT companies Netcompany and Trifork, and the Norwegian IT firm Visma.

The company that wins the bidding will be expected to deliver the finished app in May.

Jan Hessellund, chief executive of Billund airport, told the Ritzau newswire that the coronavirus passport could be “the return of travel as we knew it before Covid-19. It will be really good for us,” she said.

Rikke Zeberg, head of digitization at the Confederation of Danish Industry, said that the passport could allow a wide range businesses to reopen.

“Together with vaccines, the coronavirus passport is a crucial tool for reopening society, just as it will be one of the most important tools for ensuring a sustained reopening and avoiding a new wave of closures,” she said.

“With a vaccine or rapid test result and a coronavirus passport in hand, you could, for example, go to the cinema, go to university, or get on a plane with a minimal risk of bringing the infection with you.”

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HEALTH

Danish LGBT+ group welcomes monkeypox vaccination decision

A Danish LGBT+ rights group says that a decision by the country’s health authority to offer monkeypox vaccinations to all men who have sex with men, and have multiple sexual partners, is ‘what we have asked for’.

Danish LGBT+ group welcomes monkeypox vaccination decision

Denmark will now offer monkeypox vaccinations to all men who have sex with men and have multiple sexual partners, the Danish Health Authority said on Tuesday.

Previously, the shots were only given to people who had been in close contact with a confirmed case.

Anyone can get monkeypox from close contact, not just men who have sex with men. However, high numbers of cases have been recorded in that group, in Denmark as well as internationally.

READ ALSO: Monkeypox: Denmark to offer vaccination to at-risk group

The head of secretariat with association LGBT+ Denmark, Susanne Branner Jespersen, told broadcaster DR the organisation was “pleased” that health authorities have broadened the segment to which vaccinations are offered.

“This is what we have asked for, so we can only be satisfied that they are now coming out with a vaccination strategy which fits with the needs we are seeing,” Jespersen said.

“Being vaccinated does not set aside the general guidelines which have come out, but it will give a higher degree of security,” she said.

The organisation last week called for the Danish Health Authority to offer the monkeypox vaccine to men who have sex with men.

That request has now been met. The vaccine is given as two injections at a 28-day interval.

The health authority is in dialogue with regional health providers and hospitals regarding how the vaccination effort will be coordinated and expects to begin vaccinations by the end of this week, new wire Ritzau reported.

The vice director of the Danish Health Authority, Helene Probst, DR on Tuesday that people in risk groups show be “extra aware” of symptoms, with case numbers currently increasing.

“Vaccination is one part of a strategy with several elements, but it is also important to be aware of symptoms,” Probst told DR.

Typical symptoms of Monkeypox are similar to those most experience with influenza.

Additional symptoms can include a rash in the groin area, itching and discomfort, and blisters in the mouth or on hands. Should these symptoms present, the sufferer should contact their doctor, be tested for monkeypox and avoid close contact with others.

The disease can be passed on to others once symptoms are present.

Latest data from the State Serum Institute (SSI), the national infectious disease agency, show that 126 people in Denmark have contracted monkeypox since the first case was detected in the country in late May.

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