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Secure, verifiable health status data required to accelerate global travel – Meyer



For global travel and trade to return to pre-pandemic levels, travellers will need a secured and verifiable way to document their health status as they travel across borders.

Paul Meyer, Chief Executive Officer, The Commons Project, a non-profit public trust, made this known at a virtual meeting announcing the first successful transatlantic trial of CommonPass.

Commons Project is a non-profit public trust established with support from the Rockefeller Foundation to build global digital services and platforms for the common good.

It is working with a broad coalition of public and private partners around the world to develop and launch a standard global model to enable people to document their certified COVID-19 status to facilitate international travel and border crossing while keeping their health information private.

Also, CommonPass is a digital health pass aimed at enabling safer travel and reopening of international borders.

It was reported that the Commons Project Foundation and the World Economic Forum (WEF) had launched the CommonPass and CommonPass Framework for Health Status Verification for safer travel and accelerate border reopenings.

Also, Common Trust Framework for Health Status Verification enables governments to set and verify their own health criteria for travellers, while allowing laboratory results and vaccination records to be certified across borders.

Meyer said that the CommonPass would allow travellers to securely share their COVID-19 status across international borders while protecting their privacy.

“In the absence of being able to trust health data created outside their borders, many countries insist on testing on arrival or simply close their borders.

“In their haste to close borders, efforts have often been disparated and uncoordinated.

“As a result, there are a myriad of approaches to COVID-19 regulations and restrictions and almost as many different quarantine measures as there are countries.

“To avoid these situations, the world needs a unified digital infrastructure and health trust framework, where health data can be shared securely across borders, as well as with airlines and other stakeholders.

“Otherwise, people will not dare to sit on a plane, and not because they worry about the flight, but because they don’t know what will happen before or after their flights,” he said.

Meyer said that only a common ground for recovery and bringing health records across borders could restore trust again.

“This is why there is such an urgent need for solutions like CommonPass to make international travel safer, through trust in health data and transparency of entry requirements.

“The aim is to put a digital infrastructure and trust framework in place to accommodate vaccine records before vaccine distribution begins.

“Without a common shared platform for sharing health information, the confusing range of uncoordinated regulations and restrictions will continue, even, if a vaccine or several vaccines become available,” he said.

The project executive officer said that the successful inaugural trial enabled transatlantic travellers on United Airlines on Flight 15 from London Heathrow to Newark Liberty International Airport.

According to him, this is to share their COVID-19 test status across borders using a trust framework for the first time.

Meyer said that this would be followed with the rollout of CommonPass in flight routes across Asia, Africa, the Americas, Europe and the Middle East in November and December.

He said that 50 countries had been integrated into the framework with more countries to follow soon.

Also, Christian Wolff, Head of Mobility, World Economic Forum, said that safe border reopening would not be possible without mutual trust and recognition among countries for testing results and vaccine records.

Wolff said that the CommonPass framework would enable trust among governments, instill confidence in travelers and help to stimulate the world’s economy back on track.

Commenting, Dr Bradley Perkins, Chief Medical Officer, The Commons Project, said that the CommonPass would assist countries to remove travel bans and mandatory quarantine.

Perkins said that it would give travelers and governments confidence that everyone travelling had been certified to meet global standard.

Also, Omorhode Ukudolo, Project Team Lead, Webplusmore Ltd., official integrator of CommonPass in Nigeria, said that CommonPass would fast track airport screening and reduce the challenges of falsification of COVID-19 test results.

Ukudolo added that the laboratories would be connected to the framework, and laboratory results and vaccination records of travellers could be accessed through existing health data systems globally.

He noted that efforts were being made to partner with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to have the CommonPass in Nigeria toward easing travelling.

Commenting, Mr Timi Bomodi, Project Adviser, Webplusmore, said that CommonPass and the CommonPass framework would provide governments a more reliable means of accessing health status of incoming travellers.

Bomodi added that it would allow them to adapt their entry requirements, policies and laboratory tests or vaccination requirements as the pandemic evolves.

Oluwafunke Ishola

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