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Kenya begins issuing digital health pass to travelers

By Mercy Asamba | January 11th 2021

A passengers walks next to the social distance signage during the resumptions of the international flights at the Jomo Kenyatta international airport (JKIA) in Nairobi, Kenya on August 1, 2020. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Kenya has introduced new Covid-19 requirements for travellers departing the country.

The new rules that take effect today will require a digitally-verified negative Covid-19 test in a measure seeking to clampdown on forged certificates that have reversed the gains of safe air travel during the pandemic.

Kenya Civil Aviation Authority Director General Gilbert Kibe, in a circular dated Jan. 10, said they were introducing the rules in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Africa CDC and the African Union.

The system, called Trusted Travel, will be online and will be deployed across Africa with the agencies describing it as “trustworthy” and “safe”.

“Starting this Monday, January 11, 2021, no passenger will depart from Kenya without verification of their certificate using the TT process as applicable,” Captain Kibe said.

The Trusted Travel is expected to strengthen the ministry’s ability to verify, authenticate and validate test results and vaccination certificates for diseases such as Covid-19.

All passengers departing from Kenya have been advised to visit authorised laboratories to take Covid-19 test where they will be issued with a code confirming their test results.

The Trusted Travel code issued will then be used by airlines and Port Health Authorities for verification purposes.

“The passenger will receive a text message (SMS) from panaBIOS and in addition, an email from the testing laboratory with a link to guide the passenger to generate a travel code at trustedtravel.panabios.org,” Kibe said.

The departing passengers will then enter the code on their certificates online at www.africacdc.org/trusted-travel.

“If the test certificate is from a jurisdiction where TT isn’t available they can use www.globalhaven.org or Global Haven via the trusted travel portal www.africacdc.org/trusted-travel to generate a travel stamp,” Kibe said.

Upon successful validation against destination country requirements, passengers will be issued with a secondary travel stamp (TC code) by the system for exit approval for Kenya.

Kenya Airways (KQ) aircrafts parked at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi on August 1, 2020. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Travellers were advised that their Covid-19 test requirement must be less than 96 hours (four days) old before travel.

“All Covid-19 test testing laboratories in Kenya have been on boarded to the Trusted Travel system,” Kibe said.

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe had on Friday said that the ministry was working with Africa CDC, Africa Union with PanaBIOS technical support to implement an online authentication and certification system for travellers.

“Therefore, I want to inform travelers about the first visit to an authorized laboratory to pass the RT PCR Covid-19 test and issue Trusted Travel (TT) codes that can be verified by airlines and port security authorities,” Kagwe said.

Kagwe assured that the new digital services are provided to citizens and related government agencies free of charge as a result of cooperation with the AU.

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