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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HURRICANE CENTER: System Continues To Form, Next Name Is Claudette


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The early Thursday morning map from the National Hurricane Center. The red oval shows where a system may develop, not necessarily a direction of travel.

BY: STAFF REPORT | BocaNewsNow.com

BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Copyright © 2021 MetroDesk Media, LLC) — The system that forecasters are watching in the Gulf of Mexico is expected to do little today, but there is a 90 percent chance that it will develop over the next five days.

The system, according to the early morning advisory from the National Hurricane Center, is interacting with land, but will likely emerge and grow. The next name on the 2021 list is Claudette.

While no threat to Florida at this point, anything in the Gulf is worth watch. The red oval in the official map, above, indicates where the storm could develop — not a direction of travel or a cone.

From the National Hurricane Center early Thursday morning:

1. A broad low pressure area located over the eastern portion of the 
Bay of Campeche is producing widespread cloudiness and disorganized 
showers and a few thunderstorms.  This system will move little 
today, and little if any development is expected during that time 
due to interaction with land and unfavorable upper-level winds.  
However, the low should begin to move northward by this afternoon, 
and a tropical or subtropical depression is likely to form by late 
tonight or on Friday when the low moves across the western Gulf of 
Mexico.  An Air Force Reserve Unit reconnaissance aircraft is 
scheduled to investigate the disturbance this afternoon, if 
necessary.  Regardless of development, heavy rainfall will continue 
over portions of Central America and southern Mexico during the next 
few days.  Heavy rains should also begin to affect portions of the 
northern Gulf Coast on Friday.  Please consult products from your 
local meteorological service for more information. 
* Formation chance through 48 hours...high...80 percent. 
* Formation chance through 5 days...high...90 percent.

Content copyright © 2021 Metro Desk Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved. We vigorously protect our intellectual property and journalistic product. Broadcast stations must credit BocaNewsNow.com on air. Print must refer to BocaNewsNow.com. Online must link to BocaNewsNow.com. We have agreements with several organizations. Contact news (at) bocanewsnow.com.

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Many Likely Skipped Massachusetts Travel Form, Records Show – NBC Boston


If you traveled during the pandemic, but neglected to fill out the required form notifying the state of Massachusetts, you aren’t alone.

Records reviewed by the NBC10 Investigators suggest thousands of people visiting or returning to Massachusetts over a recent seven-month period likely skipped filing a travel form, based on vehicle and air travel during that time.

Filing the electronic form was previously mandatory for anyone coming from a state with higher rates of COVID-19 transmission.

After implementing the system last summer, Massachusetts collected more than 670,000 electronic forms, according to a summary provided to NBC10.

The top five international travel origins were Canada, India, the United Kingdom, Mexico and the Dominican Republic, while domestically, travelers came in the greatest numbers from Florida, California, New York, Texas and Pennsylvania.

But it’s likely many more people entered the Bay State, based on other transportation data from the same time period.

Roughly 2.5 million inbound passengers touched down at Logan Airport during those months, according to federal records. And while not all stayed for a visit – many transited through Boston on their way to other places – scores more arrived by car. AAA estimated last year that in the range of 1.4 million Massachusetts drivers would travel by vehicle during the holiday stretch from Dec. 23, 2020 through Jan. 3, 2021 alone.

At that time, travelers from dozens of states were required to fill out the forms and quarantine for 14 days or get a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival in Massachusetts. Those who flouted the order risked being fined $500 per day.

But authorities in the Bay State told NBC10 they didn’t issue a single fine, a fact that helps explain low compliance, said Dr. Davidson Hamer, an infectious disease specialist with Boston Medical Center and the Boston University School of Public Health.

“If people know there’s not rigorous enforcement of that, they may be less inclined to worry about it,” Hamer said.

The NBC10 Boston Investigators are taking a closer look at a remote work arrangement for a public health leader.

The NBC10 Investigators found health officials took a similar enforcement approach to the statewide mask mandate in November.

The travel order was in effect from August 2020 through March 2021, when it was replaced with a more lenient travel advisory.

Families hitting the road for vacation this April won’t be required to obey the same strict quarantine and testing rules when they return to Massachusetts. Unvaccinated travelers are still encouraged to quarantine for 10 days or get a negative test when they return.

“I think the system as designed, unfortunately, is not very efficient,” Hamer said. “Some countries are calling people once a day to make sure they are in quarantine and see how they’re doing. That takes a lot of resources.”

We asked the state’s COVID command center about the overall effectiveness of the travel order and have not heard back.

Vermont and New Hampshire also told us they didn’t issue any fines for failing to fill out their travel forms. Officials in Maine, Rhode Island and Connecticut didn’t respond to requests for information.

Connecticut health officials announced previously they fined seven residents $1,000 each for failing to notify health officials of their travels elsewhere in the country.

Norwood Public Health Director Sigalle Reiss said it’s been a roller coaster trying to enforce safety protocols that are constantly evolving during the pandemic.

While compliance wasn’t perfect, the travel order still had a beneficial effect by making travelers rethink their plans, said Reiss, who also serves as president of the Massachusetts Health Officers Association.

“It still does change behavior and encourage people to do the right thing and control the virus,” she said.



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New form required for passengers travelling internationally from England | News


Passengers travelling internationally from Monday will need to carry a new form that sets out their trip is permitted under the stay-at-home restrictions, the government has announced.

The form must be downloaded, signed before travel and carried, or is downloaded onto a mobile phone.

Carriers will be checking the forms have been completed before boarding, either at check-in (online or at the check-in desk) or the departure gate.

Passengers who do not have a valid form may be denied access to their booked service.

Carriers will also be legally obliged to set out on their website that the form must be completed before travelling.

Police have been stepping up their presence at ports and airports in recent weeks to enforce ever evolving travel restrictions.

Officers will now be conducting spot checks and have the power to ask travellers to produce a completed form.

It will be an offence to fail to produce a completed form and individuals could face a £200 fine.

Stay-at-home rules are still in place, which means it is illegal to travel abroad without a permitted reason, such as for education or work, officials said.

The police will undertake spot checks at UK ports across the country to ensure passengers are complying with domestic lockdown rules.

Passengers who are identified by police as attempting to travel internationally for reasons that are not currently permitted will be asked to return home and risk receiving a fixed penalty notice for breaking stay-at-home rules.

These fines start at £200 and ladder up to a maximum of £6,400.

The Home Office announced an additional £60 million for police in February – including £2 million to cover the costs of extra activity by police at airports and ports – which brought the total amount of funding available to forces since the start of the pandemic to nearly £200 million.





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Mandatory form for international travel launched to prevent illegal trips


Passengers travelling internationally from Monday 8 March 2021 will need to carry a new form that sets out their trip is permitted under the stay at home restrictions.

The simple form must be downloaded, signed before travel, and carried or downloaded onto a mobile phone.

Carriers will be checking the forms have been completed before boarding, either at check-in (online or at the check-in desk) or the departure gate. Passengers who do not have a valid form may be denied access to their booked service. Carriers will also be legally obliged to set out on their website that the form must be completed before travelling.

Police have been stepping up their presence at ports and airports in recent weeks. Officers will be conducting spot checks and have the power to ask travellers to produce a completed form. It will be an offence to fail to produce a completed form and individuals could face a £200 fine.

Stay-at-home rules are still in place, which means it is illegal to travel abroad without a permitted reason, such as for education or work.

The police will undertake spot checks at UK ports across the country to ensure passengers are complying with domestic lockdown rules. Passengers who are identified by police as attempting to travel internationally for reasons that are not currently permitted will be asked to return home and risk receiving a fixed penalty notice for breaking stay-at-home rules. These fines start at £200 and ladder up to a maximum of £6,400.

The Home Office announced an additional £60 million for police in February – including £2 million to cover the costs of extra activity by police at airports and ports – which brought the total amount of funding available to forces since the start of the pandemic to nearly £200 million.

The government has already put in place a range of tough measures to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission at the border, including the:

All international arrivals must also take a COVID-19 test on both day 2 and day 8 of their self-isolation period – with genome sequencing included within the cost of the testing bundle.

All measures will be kept under review and further action may be taken to protect the public.



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business trip

Loews, Omni Hotels Form Sales Partnership


Loews Hotels and Omni Hotels & Resorts have formed a cross-selling partnership, the companies announced. The deal allows for “increased distribution in markets where there is no crossover between the two.” Though the partnership currently focuses on leisure travel, Loews and Omni will look to expand into other areas, possibly including the meetings sector, but the companies provided no further details.



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Bernie and his mittens travel Alaska, in meme form


Alaska Life
  • Author: Anchorage Daily News
  • Updated: 13 minutes ago
  • Published 3 hours ago

Photoshopped image of Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont as an IditaRider, created by Juneau artist Pat Race on Jan. 21, 2021. (Photo illustration by Pat Race. Musher photo: Keith Brown / USAF. Sanders photo: Brendan Smialowski/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)



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