IATA warns that paper exams for Covid-19 are open to fraud | Information
IATA urges governments to use digital platforms for Covid-19 testing as it warns that paper-based tests are prone to fraudulent results.
At a press conference on Jan. 27, Nick Careen, senior vice president of the Airline Association for Airport, Passenger, Freight and Security, said paper-based test results were inefficient, difficult to process and also “easy to manipulate”.
He says IATA is aware of “numerous” fake Covid-19 test results in several countries, an issue previously linked to fake yellow fever certificates that “will get worse”.
While the problem “is not as widespread as you think,” Careen says it could become a “much bigger problem” once the pandemic is brought under control, as the number of health checks required by governments exceeds the currently required ” far exceed “is used for infectious diseases like yellow fever.
Careen urges governments to adopt digital solutions and points out that the IATA Travel Pass, an app the association is currently developing, will help passengers “manage their trips easily and securely in accordance with regulatory requirements”.
“Digital certifications have to become a mandate, we cannot continue to work as we do with paper around the world – that is simply not sustainable,” he adds.
With the IATA Travel Pass app, passengers can create digital versions of their passport and manage their Covid-19 vaccination and test status.
It is intended to enable contactless travel through airports and simplify the process of passing on the Covid-19 test and vaccination status to airlines and national authorities.
According to Careen, pilot tests were carried out with the app in December. Additional pilots with “extended functionality” are planned for February with British Airways and Singapore Airlines. Other pilots will follow with Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad.
The goal is to roll out the first version of the Travel Pass on March 1st, followed by another iteration with more features in April.
Careen says a global framework for testing is “urgently needed”.
“Countries are starting to question other countries’ testing capabilities,” he warns.
Careen urges organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO) to set global standards for “smart” vaccine certification.
He deplores the lack of progress in this area and says that WHO needs a “fire lit below” to accelerate progress.
He says there needs to be more guidance from the ICAO and WHO to get states to agree on a “process and mechanism and trigger” that will allow travel to restart.
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see how much money is being burned and it is only a matter of time before we see major problems. This is a loss of operations, a loss of airlines, a loss of flight schedules. increased costs, ”says Careen.
According to Careen, the need for a widely recognized digital app is “widely accepted”. IATA had positive discussions with EASA, the European Union, airlines and individual governments.
IATA Director General Alexandre de Juniac supported efforts by countries like Greece to agree a global relaxation of travel restrictions and quarantine measures for those who have received a vaccine.
He says IATA also supports measures taken by Poland, Lebanon, Latvia and Seychelles to implement such an exemption.
De Juniac noted that the recent suspension of flights between Denmark and the UAE shows the importance of establishing standardized tests. According to De Juniac, the IATA sees the WHO’s leading efforts to develop a smart vaccination certificate that will be the digital successor to the long-established “yellow book” used to treat vaccinations like yellow fever, according to WHO.