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Vietnam launching digital health pass as Hawaii looks to repurpose screening investments

Vietnam launching digital health pass as Hawaii looks to repurpose screening investments

Well over two years into the global COVID-19 pandemic, digital health passes are still rolling out, even as authorities try to figure out what to do with investments in technologies that are no longer fit-for-purpose.

The Vietnamese Ministry of Health announced that more than a thousand people were issued vaccine passports for business trips or tourism from Bach Mai Hospital, VnExpress international reports.

Additionally, Hanoi-based hospitals E and K have also started to issue vaccine passports to people who have been vaccinated at its facilities, in accordance with regulations issued in December 2021.

Beyond the two pilot projects, the Ministry of Health is expected to hold a conference next week after which the vaccine passports will be issued to 63 provinces and cities across the country.

The digital health passes released as part of the project will work via QR codes and reportedly adhere to World Health Organization and the European Union standards. Agreements on mutual recognition have been reached with 17 countries so far, according to VnExpress.

The project aims to tackle the issue of individuals reporting incorrect patient information in the country. According to VietNamNet, at the time of writing, roughly 80 million people have either provided incorrect information or have not been updated in the national vaccination system.

More generally, Vietnam is currently working to accelerate digital transformation, recently announcing an expansion of the use of digital ID for public services.

Hawaii aims to repurpose biometric virus-screening tech 

Hawaiian officials are considering repurposing the state’s ‘Safe Travels’ policy that was implemented to screen visitors during the pandemic, Times-Union reports.

Officially scrapped last month, the program required travelers to provide a negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination to avoid quarantine. Thermal and facial recognition cameras were used at airports to aid officials in finding potentially infected passengers.

According to State Senator Glenn Wakai, removing the aforementioned facial recognition cameras was a “ridiculous idea.”

Wakai added that biometric technologies are the future of access and payments, and will soon replace phones or cards.

An associated mobile and web app could be repurposed to help visitors fill out required forms.

Governor David Ige echoed Wakai’s thoughts and said he is promoting the entire program to federal officials, particularly to be used in cases of new health emergencies.

Hong Kong company plans biometric contact tracing

City Vision Limited is planning a trial in Hong Kong to track the whereabouts of people testing positive for the novel coronavirus with facial recognition, according to a company announcement.

A company business plan suggests City Vision is planning to deploy its biometric algorithms to CCTV cameras to monitor the movements of infected people, track their close contacts and ensure they are wearing masks.

The company says it can track the movements of ten people in between five and ten minutes, compared to at least half an hour to manually trace the movements of one person.

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