Roundup: Rfider links COVID-19 test with digital health pass for travel, Vietnam’s tourism app features health declaration form and more briefs


New Zealand-based Rfider links COVID-19 test with digital health pass for travel

New Zealand software firm Rfider has enabled a COVID-19 test in Singapore to connect with a digital health pass for international travel.

In a statement, the company said it has been chosen by Invitrocue, a Singapore-based bioanalytic solutions provider, to empower its saliva-based antigen and PCR-based COVID-19 tests with a technology that allows tracking, tracing and verification. 

Through Rfider’s platform, the Invitrocue tests provide users with a unique ID that helps prevent counterfeiting and enables test results authentication. 

It is also able to securely send the test reports to their mobile devices to be used as a travel pass. 

Rfider says its technology has established compatibility with the Verity platform for such a purpose. Created by self-sovereign identity applications developer Evernym, the said platform is behind the digital health pass of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which is now being trialled at over 40 airlines globally, including the Australian flag carrier Qantas

“We are pleased to be working with Rfider to make this possible. With this partnership, individuals will be able to store their health data securely on their mobile device and privately share it with trusted providers and authorities with the tap of a button,” Evernym VP of Product James Monaghan said.

The Rfider technology, according to chief executive John Pennington, helps cut down the time to deliver test reports to workers at hospitality and tourism venues, which in turn, ushers in the recovery of in-person events around the world. 

Dr Stephen Fang, executive director of Invitrocue, said its partnership with Rfider enabled them to “scale the deployment” of their testing platform and deliver results to users and even to decision makers in “real-time”. “It is a step-change in not only the way testing is conducted but how we can get better data faster,” he added.


Health declaration form integrated in Vietnam’s tourism app 

Vietnam’s mobile tourism app called “Du lick Viet Nam an toan” now features a health declaration form.

According to a news report, the inclusion of the health declaration form, which connects to a system managed by the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control, is part of health authorities’ efforts to enhance their pandemic response. Adding the new feature also removes the need for users to switch to another platform just to fill out the form.

Launched last year in October by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, the mobile app contains a digital map that shows information on restaurants, hotels, apartments, entertainment places, transport providers, hospitals and pharmacies.

The tourism app also provides the most updated information about the COVID-19 situation in any destination, including details about infection cases and the number of recovered patients.

Developers are working to add other features, such as COVID-19 safety verification, COVID-19 vaccine certification, health records, travel insurance and e-tickets.

The news report noted that due to the prevailing travel restrictions and border closures, there were only about 105,000 international tourist arrivals recorded in the country in the first eight months of 2021, a 97% decline compared to the same period in 2020. 


Indian medical news portal goes mobile

Medical Dialogues, an online medical news portal in India, has launched its mobile app for Android and iOS devices. 

The Google news-registered portal provides medical news, guidelines, interesting cases and news about the healthcare industry. It claims to have over two million visits each month. The news site has a HONcode certification for bringing authentic health information on the internet.

Its development, according to the company, comes following demand from over 600,000 medical fraternities who are registered users of the portal.

Aiming to empower and update doctors with medical knowledge, the app contains new features such as video library, webinars for doctors and interactive modules like quizzes, surveys and polls.

“As the pioneer of risk management in the country, doctors have to be associated with the medical updates under the COVID-19 guidelines as the virus is taking a new shape every week. Doctors need to be updated with the latest information about COVID-19. With maintaining the dictum of offering the best service, Medical Dialogues has launched the app for healthcare and medical professionals,” Dr Prem Aggarwal, co-founder of Medical Dialogues, said.


Vietnamese-American charity group extends free teleconsultations to COVID-19 patients in Vietnam

Vietnamese-American charity organisation Good Samaritan Medical Dental Ministry has collaborated with the provinces of Dong Nai and Tien Giang in Vietnam to deliver free remote doctor consultations with COVID-19 patients at home.

According to a news report, a telemedicine system will be used to connect the patients with doctors in the US and Vietnam for virtual consultations. 

The report noted that Dong Nai and Tien Giang are among southern provinces in the country that reported high incidences of COVID-19 infections. In Dong Nai, for instance, around 23,000 citizens have contracted the disease with over 200 people already dead.

The charity group said they could accommodate between 200 and 300 COVID-19 patients for consultations “every four hours”. They also offered help to deliver blood oxygen monitoring devices and oxygen concentrators from the government to patients needing them.



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UK government unveils ‘Declaration to Travel’ permits for outbound travel


LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 15: A view inside a quiet Terminal 5 departure lounge at Heathrow Airport on April 15, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. The airport expects 90% fewer passengers compared to April last year, as governments continue to advise against non-essential travel due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Heathrow has prioritised cargo traffic and closed one of its two runways. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Those who fail to comply with the rules face a £200 ($277) to a maximum of £6,400 fine, the Department for Transport warned. Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Travellers from England face fines and being denied access to board flights under new travel rules coming into force from 8 March.

The UK government has unveiled a “Declaration to Travel” permit for anyone travelling abroad from England, requiring them to prove that they are allowed to travel.

The form states that outbound travellers from England can go overseas despite the lockdown and travel restrictions if they can prove they are doing so for legally exempt reasons including education and work purposes.

This means that those who enter “a port of departure to travel internationally” without the completed forms will be “committing a criminal offence,” even if they are legally allowed to travel for work, education or medical reasons, the government said.

Those who fail to comply with the rules face a £200 ($277) to a maximum of £6,400 fine, the Department for Transport warned.

“You do not need to complete the form yourself if you are under the age of 18 or if you lack capacity to complete the form. If a responsible adult is travelling with you, they should complete a separate copy of the form on your behalf.”

While those going overseas will have to fill in a form, travellers from England who are travelling within the UK, Ireland and Channel islands and the Island of Man do not need to complete a form.

Outbound England travellers have to fill in the three page form, which includes their personal details, address, passport number and destination, they also have to tick a box declaring that they are leaving the country.

It can be downloaded from the government’s website, completed and signed before travel and people must carry a physical copy or download it onto a mobile phone.

Currently, all travel, whether in the UK or overseas, is not permitted under the “stay at home” order. The earliest possible date for international travel for leisure from England is 17 May.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: All businesses in England now able to get free COVID-19 rapid tests

Airlines will check travellers’ forms before boarding or during check-in online or at the desk, and the government said that they are legally required to state on their website the requirement to fill out the form.

There are different rules for the devolved administrations and at present no declaration of travel forms are required in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Those arriving in the UK from abroad have to take two coronavirus tests while quarantining, some people are required to pay to self-isolate at a hotel upon return to the country.

WATCH: Should I book a holiday in 2021?



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San Marcos mayor signs disaster declaration, urges residents to avoid travel, attend church online


SAN MARCOS, Texas – San Marcos Mayor Jane Hughson signed a disaster declaration Saturday and urged city residents to avoid traveling during the winter storm as it makes its way through the area and state.

In a statement, Hughson said the storm could make road conditions even more hazardous for motorists. The declaration will be in effect for seven days or until conditions improve.

San Marcos police reported that they had responded to more than 12 ice-related crashes on Interstate 35 early Saturday morning.

According to officials, no one was seriously injured in the crashes, but officials are now urging drivers to slow down and avoid traveling due to ice on bridges and roadways throughout the city.

City leaders are recommending that the public stay off of roads as much “as possible or use extreme caution if driving is unavoidable.”

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The city said in a statement that despite efforts to pre-treat roads with de-icing solution and sand by both city and TxDOT crews, precipitation continues to freeze on roads, making travel “very dangerous.”

The city is encouraging area churches to broadcast services to their congregations virtually or cancel services this weekend to reduce traffic on roads as driving conditions worsen.

Additionally, the city is working with The Salvation Army, Southside Community Center and H.O.M.E Center of Central Texas to provide shelter for community members as needed.

According to the city, staff members with the city’s code compliance team and the police department’s homeless outreach team passed out hotel vouchers to individuals in the area for the past several days.

Hays County Emergency Management is coordinating the following temporary shelter locations for anyone unable to obtain other accommodations:

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Southside Community Center

518 S. Guadalupe St., San Marcos, TX

512-557-0795

The Salvation Army

300 S CM Allen Parkway, Ste. 100, San Marcos, TX

512-557-3661

Hays Hills Baptist Church

1401 N Farm to Market Rd. 1626, Buda, TX

512-295-3132

Dripping Springs United Methodist Church

28900 RR 12, Dripping Springs, TX

512-894-7123

Westover Baptist Church

1310 Advance St., San Marcos, TX

512-214-2258

First Baptist Church of Wimberley

15951 Winters Mill Parkway, Wimberley, TX

432-634-2364

Additional resource information may be found at https://hayscountytx.com/2021/02/13/resources-for-those-in-need-during-freezing-weather/.

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As always, Your Weather Authority team will keep you updated. You can get the very latest forecast anytime by bookmarking our weather page and downloading the KSAT Weather Authority App – available for both Apple and Android devices.

Copyright 2021 by KSAT – All rights reserved.



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San Marcos mayor signs disaster declaration, urges public to avoid travel


Increasingly hazardous road conditions led San Marcos Mayor Jane Hughson to sign a disaster declaration, which will be active for a week. (Warren Brown/Community Impact Newspaper)

San Marcos Mayor Jane Hughson signed a declaration of local state of disaster on Feb. 13 due to wintry precipitation expected later the same day and throughout the weekend, which is expected to make road conditions increasingly hazardous.

According to a news release, the declaration will be in effect for the next seven days unless extended. It may also be terminated sooner if road conditions improve.

The city is recommending that the public stay off roads when possible or use extreme caution if travel is necessary. Treatment of roads with de-icing solutions and sand by the city and Texas Department of Transportation crews has had a limited effect in improving road conditions, which are still hazardous.

San Marcos is encouraging churches to broadcast services virtually to their congregations or to cancel for this weekend to reduce traffic.

Residents are also advised to bring pets inside and to provide outdoor animals with a warm, solid shelter that will protect them from wind and rain. Weather-related concerns for animals should be reported to the San Marcos Police Department’s non-emergency line, which is 512-753-2108.

Resources for those in need are being provided by a number of organizations in Hays County, many of which are also accepting donations.





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