Developing a Sports Digital Health Passport to Bring Fans Back to Stadiums

July 2020

Digital health passports could be used by sports governing bodies to help get fans back into stadiums safely and securely, according to a senior executive at the company overseeing the UK Premier League’s coronavirus testing programme.

Avi Lasarow, Chief Executive for the EMEA region at Prenetics, told Reuters that the Hong Kong-based biotechnology firm is developing a secure test-evidencing and access system that is believed to be the first such offering for sports.

‘I think it’s going to be a big game-changer in terms of linking COVID-19 testing results to a digital access mechanism based on biometrics and other such factors,’ Lasarow said.

According to Lasarow, the web-based system would require fans to scan their health passport information, by way of a QR code, upon access to a venue in order to prove their COVID-19 test is valid and has also produced a negative result.

Fans would opt into the system via an email and provide personal information, including a photograph, that would then be verified by clubs, who would provide a unique personal code accessed using a mobile phone.

Prenetics – which is also known as CircleDNA – has reportedly signed a £4 million ($4.8 million) deal with English soccer’s Premier League to provide coronavirus testing for league players and staff. The company had reportedly conducted nearly 9,000 tests on league players and staff before the league’s return to action behind closed doors on 17 June.

Switching from ball and boot to bat and ball, Prenetics is also partnering in a programme with The England and Wales Cricket Board to get international cricket rolling again.

The programme has supported the first Test match played since lockdown was eased, between England and the West Indies, that was played behind closed doors from 8-12 July. Testing was conducted on both sets of teams, squads, and support staff under the Prenetics’ Screen by Circle programme at the bio-secure venues selected for international cricket matches.

The digital Health Passport programme is a web-based platform that identifies an individual’s testing status and history based on RT-PCR (reverse transmission polymerase chain reaction) COVID-19 test results. These are the tests that detect the presence of the virus through the collection of samples from nose and throat swabs.

The system works by scanning a QR code to determine if results are valid and current for entry or access via agreed points of control at stadiums, and for any venues in which safety is a concern.

The steps for digital Health Passport enrolment are:

  1. Each participant enrols via email and must upload a profile photo which is verified by the sponsoring club, before they can unlock their unique personal code;
  2. Prenetics – via SSL encryption – stores this data on the cloud; and
  3. Each participant will have a unique digital Health Passport which they can access on their mobile phone.

The last word for the moment on sports digital health passports goes to Lasarow from Prenetics. ‘Today, it’s being used for access control where it can link to accreditation and biometrics. Ultimately, the future is how you can scale that up to large numbers of fans to get them into stadiums.’

Also in this issue:

  • Tribute to Efthimios Matsoukis
  • Easing the Problem of Person-not-Present
  • News in Brief
  • Views from Around the World on the Future of Border Management
  • Identity Fraud No Joke for Taipan Citizen
  • Demax Launches FreeEdge Passport Laminate
  • Onfido Announces Significant Sales Growth
  • Helps US States Release Blocked Unemployment Claims
  • Call for Papers – DDS Conference

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