Germany's Covid warning app to display 'vaccine passport' and better check-in functions
Germany’s Corona-Warn-App is set to expand with new features, including a built-in certificate for those who have been vaccinated and a check-in function for private events.
Some of the new features of the ‘Version 2.0’ of the Corona-Warn-App will be available as of Wednesday.
They include a ‘private event’ function, in which users can anonymously check-in through the QR code that the host has set up.
The location of the event, its duration and the event type are recorded, but not the names and phone numbers of the visitors.
This also differs from coronavirus tracing apps such as Luca or darfichrein.de, which are designed to digitally register people in restaurants, stores or at events, as is required in all 16 German states. In the process, visitors must provide their contact information.
In future versions - before the summer vacations begin - it will also be possible to display a ‘digital vaccination certificate’, in which users could prove if they’ve been fully vaccinated.
This could act as a type of “Impfpass” (vaccination passport), allowing holders to more freely travel and engage in public life again.
It will also be possible to display the results of rapid tests through the app. Around most of Germany, a negative result is currently required for shopping, getting a haircut, or in some states such as Berlin to enter the workplace.
The Corona-Warn-App was originally launched in June 2020 to let users know if they've come in contact with an infected person in their vicinity.
Picking up in popularity
If the app detects a possible dangerous encounter, it notifies other nearby users but not health authorities themselves.
Although Germany’s Corona-Warn-App is the most successful digital Covid-19 contact tracking application in Europe, with 27 million downloads to date, its effectiveness has repeatedly come into question.
Last October, for example, Bavaria's state premier Markus Söder (CSU) declared the app to be virtually ineffective.
"Unfortunately, the app has been a toothless tiger so far," Söder said in an interview at the time. "It has hardly any warning effect."
However, current federal figures show that the app has likely come a long way since its inception.
According to these, 79,000 users have warned their contacts about a positive test result in the past four weeks alone.
On average, a positive report triggers warnings to six other people. Four out of five people who receive a red alert in the app then go on to get tested, with seven percent testing positive for a Covid-19 infection.
Taking these numbers into account, the app has probably warned a total of about 2.5 million people about high-risk encounters with others and ultimately detected 140,000 Covid 19 infections.