Rapid testing in hospitality venues could avoid the introduction of vaccine passports, while still allaying a potential rise in Covid infections when indoor service returns, according to a leading doctor.
Dr Jonas Nilsen is the founder of vaccination specialist Practo which is operating a pilot scheme in Denmark that sees rapid testing in pubs, restaurants and hotels.
In the trial, tests are conducted by venue staff and the result – valid for 72 hours - is returned to the customer within 15 minutes.
Nilsen, founder of Practio said: “The ongoing conversation around ‘vaccine passports’ has been met with criticism and discussions around ethics and whether the system could be discriminatory. In Denmark outdoor hospitality is open to all, tested or not. But, the risk of transmission is lower outside than inside and this rapid testing partnership with hospitality venues ensures those that want to be inside will be doing it safely and reducing the risk of infection where chances are higher.
“The result is valid for 72 hours and can be used until it expires. On average you become contagious around 72 hours after infection. That doesn't mean it's impossible for someone to be infected and then become infectious within the 72 hour period, but it does mean that the likelihood of this happening is greatly reduced. As I see it, this is a logical solution to keep indoor hospitality safe for customers and open indefinitely to help aid the economy and get the industry back on its feet.
“For the industry this is insurance. Hospitality has taken a beating since the start of the pandemic and with the introduction of rapid testing at venues, the scheme should ensure that they remain open, trading and safe. The pandemic is unlikely to end by vaccinations alone, an approach that encompasses rapid testing and vaccinations is likely to be the solution out of this.”