Testing COVID-19 passport. Photo: Sari Myllyniemi

THL's new COVID-19 passport reading application was tested at a City of Helsinki morning coffee event

The Finnish Government has submitted a proposal to Parliament on the basis of which the introduction of a COVID-19 passport in Finland would be made possible in October. The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) is currently developing a QR code reader application for the COVID-19 certificate, which could be used as a COVID-19 passport for the COVID-19 certificate obtained from Omakanta. Prior to the release of the reading application, THL has wanted to trial its functionality and usability. THL asked the City of Helsinki for help with the trial, which the city gladly agreed to. Already in August, the City of Helsinki organized two events in which possible operating models of the COVID-19 passport were piloted.

“We are happy to help THL ensure that the national reading application is functional and easy to use. It is in the interest of the city and society as a whole that the use of the COVID-19 passport is as straightforward as possible if the passport is needed to compensate for other restrictions,” says Director of the Enterprise Services Unit Jani Moliis, coordinating the COVID-19 passport in the city.

The purpose was to trial the functionality of the corona certificate reading application in changing conditions

The City of Helsinki organized a trial event regarding the application of the COVID-19 certificate reading application on Thursday, 23 September. Employees of the City of Helsinki who participated in the event tested the reading application in the central library Oodi. The COVID-19 certificate gathered from My Kanta was read with a reading application in various environments, either downloaded to a phone or printed on paper. The purpose was to test how the reading application works, for example, in different lighting conditions. THL is responsible for the technical implementation of the reader application with the funding and guidance of STM. Solita is responsible for the technical development of the application. 

"Piloting in Oodi helped to ensure that the application felt easy enough to be used flexibly in different situations and can help in the organisation of safe events," says Mika Pihlajamäki, THL's information architect. 

The application developed by THL and Solita will be more widely introduced when the legislation enabling the COVID-19 passport enters into force. The new COVID-19 passport app will then be available in the app stores on Android and Apple phones and will be available for anyone to download to their smartphone.

“The application is simple yet necessary if the COVID-19 passport is introduced in Finland. It was great to see the enthusiasm of the users and get feedback on the ease of use from the people of Helsinki,” says Director of Solita's Health and Welfare Division Risto Kaikkonen.

The cultural, events and hospitality sectors play a key role as a source of vitality in large cities such as Helsinki. The COVID-19 passport would therefore play a major role in the controlled opening up of society in the resumption of mixed tourism, and, as a result, Helsinki has participated as an active partner in the state administration in enabling and piloting the introduction of the COVID-19 passport. The COVID-19 passport will allow for less severe restrictions, and its introduction would make it possible not only to make it easier for businesses to operate, but also to reduce unemployment among young people, for example.

News photo:  The purpose of the trial was to test the functionality of the corona certificate reading application in changing conditions. Photo: Sari Myllyniemi