A French Police officer performed checks of health passes and verified the correct application of controls by the manager of a cinema in Amneville, France, on 22 July 2021. (Jean-Christophe Verhaegen – AFP/Lehtikuva)

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INTRODUCING a Covid-19 passport to help to manage the coronavirus epidemic is not a legally or constitutionally unfeasible proposition in Finland, views Janne Salminen, a professor of public law at the University of Turku.

It has been proposed that showing the passport be made a requirement for attending cultural events or entering restaurants, for example.

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“I believe it’d be possible to adopt a requirement like this appropriately based on the legislation for participating in a limited number of activities under certain conditions. We’re now talking about non-essential services,” he commented to Helsingin Sanomat on Tuesday.

Salminen stressed that the passport should not be available exclusively to people who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, but also to people who have recovered from the disease or tested positive for the virus and are therefore protected against the virus or incapable of transmitting it to others.

“I think the passport also shouldn’t reveal what it’s based on to those verifying its validity – a vaccination, clean test or recently had disease.”

Such information, he elaborated, would be problematic from the viewpoint of privacy protection and from that of people who are unable to get vaccinated for medical reasons.

This is the approach taken in, for example, Denmark. Residents of the country can obtain the health passport on grounds of having been fully vaccinated, tested negative for the coronavirus or recovered from the coronavirus disease. The passport does not specify the grounds on which it was issued.

“Based on my knowledge of the Danish model, privacy protection has been taken well into consideration,” said Salminen.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT