THE Ministry of Health and the National Covid-19 Secretariat (NACOSEC) have joined forces with the African Union (AU) and Africa Centre Disease Control (CDC) to introduce an online system to verify and authenticate Covid-19 certificates issued by local testing facilities.
Addressing a press conference this week, Health Minister Semano Sekatle said the new service, which is being implemented with the technical support of the PanaBIOS Consortium, will begin on 1 August 2021.
“The government notifies the public and travellers that starting from the 1st of August, we are deploying the Trusted Travel application at all our points of entry,” Mr Sekatle said.
The Trusted Travel certificate initiative is aimed at enabling African Union (AU) member states to keep their borders open for economic activities while preventing or reducing the spread of Covid-19, the minister said.
He said the digitalised certificates will serve as proof that the holder has tested negative for Covid-19 and this will also prevent the production of fake Covid-19 certificates at borders during entry and departure.
“All travellers departing Lesotho will be expected to have the Trusted Travel code on their test result certificates. Starting on 1st of August 2021, no traveller will depart from Lesotho without verification of their certificates using the Trusted Travel process.
“The whole process begins with the traveller being tested for Covid-19 at an authorised laboratory. The results are sent to the person who has been tested via email or SMS. Individuals without smartphones or internet can be given printed copies of their results. The certificate will have a unique Trusted Travel code which will enable immigration authorities to verify or authenticate them.
“We are proud of our partnership with various AU bodies, United Nations institutions, technology companies, telecommunications operators and standards organisations that has made this milestone possible.
“The Government of Lesotho is pleased to deliver this enhanced service for free to all citizens and visitors for their convenience and safety. However, testing fees charged by laboratories still stand,” Mr Sekatle said.
He said visitors from countries which do not have Trusted Travel compliant laboratories will be able to upload their Covid-19 test results on the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-sponsored Global Haven online system to verify them.
“All such uploads are automatically scanned by a forensic system that can flag fake or illegible documents for further investigation. Uploading fake documents can impair one’s ability to travel globally,” Mr Sekatle said.