By Chioma Obinna
Amid travel frustrations and alleged COVID-19 test scam in Nigeria, the Commons Project Foundation and the World Economic Forum, WEF, had introduced the CommonPass and CommonPass framework for health status verification designed to ensure safer travel as well as accelerate border reopening after COVID-19 lockdown.
CommonPass is a digital health pass aimed at enabling safer travel and reopening of international borders while the 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.
Speaking during a virtual meeting announcing the first successful transatlantic trial of CommonPass, Chief Executive Officer, The Commons Project, Paul Meyer posited that for global travel and trade to return to pre-pandemic levels, travellers need a secured and verifiable way to document their health status.
Meyer explained that CommonPass would allow travellers to 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.”
He said 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.
“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.
On successful inaugural trial, he said the trial enabled transatlantic travellers on United Airlines on Flight 15 from London Heathrow to Newark Liberty International Airport.
Meyer said 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.
Speaking to journalists in Nigeria, Project Team Lead, Webplusmore Ltd., official integrator of CommonPass in Nigeria, Mr. Omorhode Ukudolo, explained that CommonPass would fast track airport screening and reduce the challenges of falsification of COVID-19 test results as it is currently happening in the country.
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 explained that plans are on top gear to partner with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC to have the CommonPass in Nigeria toward easing travelling racketeering.
To use CommonPass, travelers take a COVID-19 test at a certified lab and upload the results to their mobile phone. They then complete any additional health screening questionnaires required by the destination country.
“With the test results and questionnaire complete, CommonPass confirms travellers compliance with the destination country entry requirements and generate a QR code. That Code can be scanned by airline staff and border officials. A QR code can be printed for users without mobile devices.”
Speaking, Project Adviser, Webplusmore, Timi Bomodi, noted 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.
On his part, 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.
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 travellers and governments’ confidence that everyone travelling had been certified to meet global standard.