Kenya’s airspace to remain open as govt. adopts digital tool for Covid-19 test

Monday, January 25th, 2021 18:48 |
Kenya Airways plane. Photo/File

Kenya's airspace to remain open after the government adopted a Trusted Travel digital tool for COVID-19 test result verification in airport and border points to ensure a safe public health corridor across the continent. 

Amira Elfadil Mohammed, Commissioner for Social Affairs, African Union Commission has commended Kenya for embracing the digital tool and urged other countries to follow suit.

“The Africa Centre for Disease Control Trusted Travel initiative enables countries to keep their borders open for economic activities while preventing or minimizing the spread of COVID-19,” said Amira.

The digital tool is developed by PanaBIOS Consortium and Econet Group as a public-private partnership with Africa CDC, it supports Member States in verifying COVID-19 test certificates for travellers and to help harmonize entry and exit screening across the continent.

“African Union through Africa Centre DC, in collaboration with Panabios and Econet, will continue to provide technical support to the Government of Kenya in operationalizing the platform and calls on other Member States to hook up to the platform for screening and verification of test results to ensure safe public health corridor across the continent,” he added.

Kenya is the first country in Africa to adopt this technology. 

The platform provides information on travel requirements at the departure and destination ports and access to a list of government approved laboratories for COVID-19 testing in African countries.

It allows travellers to upload their COVID-19 test results online for easy verification by port health and travel officials and helps in the detection of forged certificates.

“This in turn will help establish trust and confidence in test results among government authorities, airlines, transport services operators and other stakeholders in the transport sector across the continent,” added Amira.

He said Africa countries economies, schools and borders re-open, Africa needs a harmonized approach to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

“We are in a critical phase of the pandemic. As economies reopen and travels resume, we must pay attention to the prevention of transmission, prevention of deaths and prevention of harm by carefully and cautiously opening our borders, and the Trusted Travel portal is the tool that Member States need to help them open safely,” said Dr John Nkengasong, Director of Africa CDC.

The Trusted Travel platform provides an extensive suite of technologies that will enable Member States to verify the authenticity of test results and vaccine certificates issued by other countries.

Without such a system, the proliferation of user-tampered and fake test and vaccine certificates will undermine efforts to minimize cross-border transmission while allowing trans-border economic activities to take place.

The platform is secured and safe and has been developed using international standards of cybersecurity and data protection protocols.

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