Update on South Africa’s Covid-19 Certificate and Overseas Travel… The Department of Health plans to roll out further ‘upgrades’ to South Africa’s Covid-19 certificate – but there are limitations on how the certificate can currently be used overseas.
The acting director general of the department, Dr Nicholas Crisp, said eNCA that the certificate takes place in three phases:
- A pilot phase;
- A verifiable phase using a QR code in South Africa using South African technology;
- An international phase which will introduce crypto-security and allow the use of the certificate abroad.
Crisp said the certificate is currently designed to allow access to events in South Africa – including sports, restaurants and workplaces – and that it will be some time before these features become available. abroad.
This means that South Africa’s vaccine certificate cannot be ‘read’ internationally, as international Covid-19 vaccine certificates are also not locally readable.
Crisp added that international discussions on improving features will likely continue until the end of the year. However, he cautioned that extending the certificate for international use has a significant cost associated with it.
“At this point, we’re trying to figure out where to get the money for the last phase. Keep in mind that the number of people traveling abroad is very small compared to the number of people it was designed for in South Africa. The first and most important step is to have it useful here.
Crisp said that although the certificates are “recognized” internationally, they are not necessarily readable. He added that thousands of South Africans have still traveled abroad without a problem.
He said he would engage with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation to develop a list of countries where South Africa’s Covid-19 certificate is accepted.
The Covid-19 certificate is currently only available to people fully vaccinated against Covid-19, with users being required to fill in their contact details, including their identification number and the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) code. .
When entering this information, users will receive a one-time PIN code confirming the authenticity of the information they provided. The PIN code can then be entered to access the final and digital certificate of the Covid-19 vaccine.
At a press conference on Nov. 12, Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla officially announced Phase 2 of the certificate which will see QR codes embedded in digital “go online” certificates.
This will allow third-party groups to use the QR codes to verify the validity of the information on the card, he said.
Opening the QR code to third parties will allow private companies and the government to better monitor who has and has not been vaccinated and could pave the way for the subsequent reopening of sporting and other events in South Africa.
It could also facilitate the surveillance of areas where compulsory vaccination policies against Covid-19 have been put in place.
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