Kenya Rolls Out Digital Verification Of COVID-19 Certificates

Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Health; Mutahi Kagwe, revealed that it is now mandatory for all individuals travelling out of Kenya, to go to authorized laboratories stationed across the country, to take their COVID-19 tests. This is to ensure that they are issued Trusted Travel (TT) codes which will subsequently be verified by Port Health authorities, as well as airlines.

An Illustration of The Ultrastructure of The COVID-19 Virus. Image From New Scientist. www.newscientist.com

The development came after the United Arab Emirates (UAE) issued a visa ban on all Kenyans after travellers were allegedly caught making use of fake or forged certificates. The 21 travellers affected, were attempting to fly to Dubai before being apprehended at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) where they were accused of forging their medical documents to show that they did not have coronavirus before embarking on their respective flights.

The travel ban on Kenya by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) occurred in November of 2020 and also included Algeria, Somalia, Tunisia, and Libya.

Around 100 other Kenyans were reportedly found with similar documents that were forged on another flight from Nairobi to Dubai. They were later discovered to be positive for COVID-19 when tests were carried out upon their arrival in Dubai.

The Kenya Ministry of Health has also made it known that it has entered into a collaboration with the African Union (AU) and the Africa CDC (Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention) with added technical support from PanaBIOS in order to effectively carry out an online system which will help with the authentication and verification of every traveller’s COVID-19 certificate in line with the guidelines of the Trusted Travel Initiative (TTI). It is hoped that this will in turn aid in guaranteeing and maintaining the integrity of all COVID-19 certificates issued.

Cabinet Secretary for Health; Mutahi Kagwe. Image From Challyh News. www.challyhnews.co.ke

Travellers will receive an SMS (text message) as well as an email which will contain a link courtesy of PanaBiOS which will guide them in the generating of a Travel Code via trustedtravel.panabios.org.

As soon the traveller’s test result is in line with the entry and exit requirements of Kenya as well as those of their intended destination (in exit scenarios) he or she will then be given a Travel Code (TC) online.

All RT PCR COVID-19 testing laboratories in Kenya have already been onboarded to the Trusted Travel (TT) system. Travellers who will be arriving in Kenya from countries that have not yet been onboarded on to the Trusted Travel Initiative set up, will make use of an alternative tool via the Global Haven partnership for vaccine certificates verifications and COVID-19 test results. The Global Haven partnership, is supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Officially implemented on the 11th of January 2021 depertures from Kenya, will no longer be allowed without proper verification of the traveller’s certificates via the Trusted Travel (TT) system. All travellers will thus be expected to have their Trusted Travel (TT) codes on their test result certificates.

Also, laboratories which do not have their Trusted Travel (TT) codes, are no longer allowed to issue COVID-19 certificates.

All citizens and establishments in Kenya and beyond are encouraged to work with and comply with the requirements in order to help speed up the the reopening of Kenya to the rest of the world in a safe manner.

Citizens and all related government agencies, will not be charged any extra costs for the digital services due to partnerships with African Union (AU) bodies, United Nations (UN) institutions, telecommunication operators, technology companies, as well as standards organizations.

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