The Covid-19 certificate was touted by the government as a tool for combatting rising infections in areas seeing a spike in coronavirus cases and for avoiding stricter national measures and lockdowns.
The government said the decision and powers to implement and use the certificate would be made at a local level. The health pass is to be used to access events and leisure and hospitality settings.
What’s causing the delays?
Two reasons for the delays have been reported. Firstly, the government needed to get regulations in place, giving local authorities the power to use the certificate. This has been solved, meaning that municipalities can implement the Covid-19 certificate if they wish.
However, the country’s health authorities, the Norwegian Directorate of Health and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) are still working on adapting the domestic Covid-19 certificate for use.
The country’s Covid-19 certificate was previously split into two parts, one for travel abroad and one for domestic use.
Since October, the domestic Covid-19 certificate has been unavailable on Norway’s digital health portal Helsenorge, which is where the Covid-19 certificate and vaccination information is stored.
The certificate needs adapting because the rules on who is eligible have changed.
“It is first and foremost changes in criteria for what should give a valid certificate which means that we can not directly reuse the current control app that verifies the QR code,” Gun Peggy Knudsen, assistant director of the NIPH, said, explaining the delays to public broadcaster NRK.
People who have been fully vaccinated, recovered from Covid in the previous 12 months and tested negative for the virus in the last 48 hours will be able to use the pass. Previously the certificate was also available to those who had received only the first dose of a vaccination.
How long until the certificates are available?
Knudsen said several solutions were being looked at to implement the certificate as quickly as possible.
“In the short term, we are working to provide guidance on how the current solution can be adapted for use by municipalities that want to introduce a corona certificate,” she told NRK.
She has suggested using the travel Covid-19 certificate in place of the domestic one as a temporary solution.
“If you want something up and running very quickly, you can use the EU-control page that is already there,” she said.
However, Knudsen has reiterated that the domestic Covid-19 certificate was preferable because it showed less information, protected users’ privacy and data, and used colour codes that made the certificate easy to use.
This solution could potentially take weeks to be ready for use again in Norway.
Knudsen said the government was also working on a solution for non-digital users and people without a Norwegian identification number or D-number.