Beijing Seniors Won't Need Smartphones to Show Health Codes Anymore

By Alistair Baker-Brian, December 22, 2020

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Beijing is piloting a scheme which will allow the city’s elderly residents to show their health code without a smartphone.  

Using the 养老助残卡(yanglao zhucanka), a type of senior citizens card available for those aged 60 years plus, Beijingers may soon be able to show their health code. Showing the code remains a requirement to enter most banks, retail outlets, supermarkets and elsewhere. 

Beijing Daily reports that the scheme is currently being piloted at Chaoyang hospital and 10 other places across the city. It is “as easy as swiping your card on the bus.” If successful, it will be adopted by more places. 

Showing the health code will add to the many functions of the senior citizens card. The card is available to all Beijing residents aged 60 years plus and allows for free bus travel, free entry to various parks and attractions among other things.

The COVID-19 pandemic has only served to catalyse China’s already flourishing use of smartphones to complete various day-to-day tasks. But for some of China’s elderly residents, their lack of smartphone savviness, or even lack of smartphone altogether, has made them feel left behind.  

The issue came to the fore in November of this year when a video clip of an elderly woman in Hubei province went viral. The woman was seen trying to pay her social security bill using cash, only to be refused and told she needed to use a smartphone.

The issue forms part of a national discussion across China about elderly people’s use of technology. Hopefully the new scheme in Beijing will help some elderly residents feel a little less stigmatised. 

[Cover image via CFP]

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