The tech solution easing passenger travel at Kenya’s airport

Kenya’s government has taken the fight against COVID-19 to a new high with the installation of new tech, the first of its kind on the continent, at its international airport, JKIA.

The sophisticated system consists of automated cameras with inbuilt thermometers that measure the temperatures of dozens of people in the socially distanced queue, displaying the results on a large screen. Their passports are also scanned to digitally verify their COVID-19 certificates.

Christened “Trusted Travel” the tech solution has been hailed by the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) as a game changer in the control of the spread of COVID-19.

Kenya is the first country on the continent to use the innovation for efficient management of air travels, having been launched on January 9 by the Ministry of Health.

“The ministry has collaborated with the AU and Africa CDC, with technical support from PanaBIOS to implement an online system to authenticate and verify laboratory test certificates for travelers,” Kenya’s Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said.

The African Union has lauded Kenya’s move to adopt the platform.

Developed by PanaBIOS Consortium and Econet Group as a public-private partnership with Africa CDC, Trusted Travel is a top-class digital solution to support Member States in verifying COVID-19 test certificates for travelers and to help harmonize entry and exit screening across the continent.

At JKIA, Trusted Travel is being used to verify Covid-19 test certificates for travellers while helping harmonise entry and exit screening across the continent. Trusted Travel also provides information on travel requirements at the departure and destination ports and access to a list of government approved laboratories for coronavirus testing in African countries.

The system has received worldwide acclaim with a British businesswoman named Antonia Filmer who recently used the innovation at JKIA praising the airport’s digital coordination that is speeding up passenger clearance at the airport compared to airports in Europe.

“On arrival in Nairobi just before entry into the immigration offices, our QR codes were scanned and linked to a temperature screening camera. The stream of passengers arrives and their temperature is displayed on the screen,” she said.

The Africa CDC Trusted Travel initiative enables countries to keep their borders open for economic activities while preventing or minimizing the spread of Covid-19.

“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.

African Union through Africa CDC, 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.

Kenya is among the first countries that had been targeted in the first phase of the adoption of the portal.

Other countries targeted in the first phase include Ghana, Cape Verde, Togo, Senegal, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, South Africa, Rwanda, Morocco, Egypt , Liberia, Uganda and Namibia.

Africa CDC says the portal is secured and safe “and has been developed using international standards of cybersecurity and data protection protocols.”

Other partners involved in the implementation of the Trusted Travel Initiative include the World Health Organization, the International Civil Aviation Organization, the United Nations Development Programme, African Civil Aviation Commission, Airport Council International–Africa, African Airlines Association, and the International Air Transport Association.

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