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26 May, 2024
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Retailers furious over CovScan’s glitchy start

Businesses revert to visual inspections at the door, ditching scans until officials can vouch for android app


A controversial android app pushed by the government to help businesses authenticate Safe Pass holders had a rough first day on Monday, with retailers upset over reported failures ranging from vaccinated documents being flagged as invalid to two different devices scanning the same QR code but giving different results.

CovScan Cyprus, a software application used by door greeters to inspect Safe Pass documents, was officially launched Monday on a trial basis for two weeks, with preliminary reports pointing to a number of technical glitches.

The app, which can be downloaded to android devices such as smart phones and tablets, is used by employees at business establishments to scan unique QR barcodes at the door before customers are allowed to enter.

While the app has been in use sporadically in previous months, the President’s Cabinet decided last week to make CovScan mandatory, with the health ministry saying this would allow for a quick and safe validation of Safe Pass documents.

There were also cases where the same QR code on a document was scanned by two different devices, with Antoniou saying in one case it was flagged red and the other it was marked green

A green “valid” indication on the user’s phone will mean the person’s QR code reflects full vaccination against or recovery from COVID-19, while an amber “limited validity” message means a person’s PCR or rapid test is within the permitted 72-hour period. A red “invalid” indication means the document could be fake or expired.

But besides concerns regarding potential privacy breaches as well as lack of familiarity with the technology, Monday also saw a number of technical glitches that prompted businesses to ditch the scanner and revert to the previous method of visual inspection, such as checking paper documents or text messages on mobile phones.

Local media said many documents were flagged as invalid even in cases of vaccinated customers, according to the Cyprus Retail Association (PASYLE).

Pasyle president Marios Antoniou told local media on Monday that the CovScan app was riddled with many problems, including having several valid certificates and documents marked by the program as invalid.

“Many certificates are flagged as red/invalid even in cases of vaccinated persons,” Antoniou said.

There were also cases where the same QR code on a document was scanned by two different devices, with Antoniou telling state radio on Tuesday morning that in one case it was flagged red and the other it was marked green.

Technical issues had also been reported prior to the official launch, with officials saying two months earlier they were testing the system to ensure a glitch-free experience.

But Antoniou said PASYLE members and associates have been given instructions to revert to the visual inspection method instead of scanning a barcode.

“Businesses have been told to inspect citizens’ Safe Pass documents by using the previous method until there are assurances from the innovation deputy ministry that the application works properly without any issues,” Antoniou said.

A trial period for CovScan is currently running for two weeks through November 22, when the app will be required with some exceptions in cases of the elderly or others not familiar with technology.

Cyprus  |  CovScan  |  pandemic  |  Safe Pass  |  QR code  |  health  |  covid  |  coronavirus  |  vaccination  |  recovery  |  smartphone  |  android

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