Health minister Kalumbi Shangula yesterday launched the African Union and Africa Centres for Disease Control (CDC) trusted travel system for the verification of Covid-19 test results and vaccination certificates.
The initiative will go a long way in minimising incidences of falsified and counterfeit PCR test results being presented at the various points of entry.
During the official launch, the minister indicated incidences of counterfeit results have necessitated the innovation to bring onboard technologies to make the system a reality without delay.
“One such technology is the trusted travel system, introduced under the auspices of the African Union and PanaBios consortium. Similar systems have been developed around the world. Here, in Namibia, the ministry began its first consultations on the trusted travel system on 2 June 2021, with technical experts from the African Union and PanaBIOS consortium,” said Shangula.
Only test results or certificates bearing trusted travel codes will be considered valid for travel out of Namibia.
Shangula explained the delays experienced, which are associated with paper-based manual systems, have various knock-on effects that compromises and undermine economic performance and trade, as well as the negative impact of the pandemic on different facets of life.
“The trusted traveller system we are launching here today allows for the detection of counterfeit test results and also enhances cross-border collaboration and confidence in Covid-19 results originating from participating jurisdictions. The platform further provides updated information on entry requirements and travel restrictions for participating states. With greater interoperability amongst systems, travellers can plan, embark upon and undertake their journeys in a hassle-free manner. This is exactly what we desire,” he said.
The minister indicated the ministry had successfully put all systems in place to roll out the initiative.
“All 27 accredited laboratories in the country have been added to the system and are in the process of generating codes for travellers, which will be required for persons leaving Namibia. Our points of entry, on the other hand, are also equipped with trained staff, internet devices and tablets to implement the system,” said the minister.
He added at least by 15 November 2021, all participating gazetted points of entry in the country will have the system operational, and it will become mandatory to have all travellers’ PCR results entered on the system by 1 December 2021.