First Use of a Digital COVID-19 Health Certificate to Cross an International Border Completed by Traveller to Singapore
International SOS, the International Chamber of Commerce, and AOKpass Pte. Ltd. have announced the first use of ICC AOKpass to provide a digitally verifiable COVID-19 health certificate for entrance to Singapore. The ability to authenticate health records at border points of entry will help to facilitate the safe and efficient resumption of international travel during the global pandemic.
On 21st December, a Singapore citizen returning from Japan on Singapore Airlines flight SQ637 successfully used the ICC AOKpass for the first time, to officially present a negative COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (“PCR”) digital test result for arrival verification at Changi Airport’s immigration counters. This was the first time an immigration authority has used a blockchain based, digitally verifiable health certificate. Shinagawa East Medical Clinic, issued the digital certificate on ICC AOKpass, which was scanned by Affinidi’s Universal Verifier solution at Changi Airport. Following the successful pilot programme, all travellers, starting with Malaysia and Indonesia will now be able to use ICC AOKpass to digitally authenticate their COVID-19 test results, as well as any other necessary health credentials during immigration at Changi Airport.
Paper certificates have been used for border crossings previously. The advent of digitally verifiable certifications represents a quantum step forward in the security and safety of international travellers. Digital verification of COVID-19 health status has been difficult because of the need to incorporate testing labs, airlines and immigration processes within a single technology.
Singaporean returns home to Changi Airport from Japan, with a digitally authenticated COVID-19 test result on 21 December 2020. Source: Affinidi
From 23 December, travellers from Malaysia and Indonesia will have dedicated immigration lanes at Changi Airport, to digitally verify their health credentials using the ICC AOKpass app. Before departure to Singapore, passengers will need to check the Singapore SafeTravel website for travel requirements, then book a pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test at healthcare providers that issue digital health credentials through secure mobile apps like the ICC AOKpass.
These travellers will each receive their test result with a unique QR code in their ICC AOKpass app, which authenticates and securely stores their negative COVID-19 test results.
Upon arrival at Changi Airport, they can use the dedicated immigration counters to swiftly verify their health credentials by scanning the given QR code in their ICC AOKpass app. This facilitates faster immigration checkpoint clearance for travellers, enables more hassle-free travel, and reduces risks of crowds at the airport. At the same time, authorities will be able to combat incidents of COVID-19 test fraud and implement a global standard for travelling, which will further enhance efforts to ensure the safe resumption of global travel.
In the coming months, the pilot programme will be progressively rolled out to other international travellers, allowing for a quicker, hassle-free travel.
The pilot use of ICC AOKpass marks the first ever digital authentication of health records that is verified officially at Singapore immigration. Source: Affinidi
Ms Juliana Gim, Managing Director of International SOS Singapore, shared, “Facilitating the 1st digital certificate entry into Singapore is yet another important milestone in the resumption of global travel during the COVID-19 outbreak. We began pilot tests of the ICC AOKpass for Singapore-based employees of International SOS in May 2020. We also worked with Singapore company Energy Drilling Management in July 2020, to fast-track their return to essential business travel and work over the past few months. With the adoption of ICC AOKpass at Changi Airport, alongside our global network of 90,000 providers, we strongly believe such secure technology will be instrumental in establishing a trusted and standardised global system to facilitate the return to work and travel across all industries, with Singapore at the forefront of these efforts.”
Dr Chester Drum, Co-founder of AOKpass, said, “As we look towards the revival of widespread international travel and trade, there is an urgent need for a common framework in certifying, authenticating and securing the results of a COVID-19 test for air transport stakeholders and local health authorities. In addition, users must trust that their data privacy is managed well, with no risk of personal data leaks. The use of blockchain technology is a critical step in combating the challenges of forged tests and medical records, while enabling quick and secure verification of COVID-19 test results for travellers to have peace of mind throughout their journey.”
ICC AOKpass is a health records authentication and presentation technology launched by the International Chamber of Commerce (“ICC”), International SOS and SGS Group, the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. It was co-developed with Singapore-based start-up AOKpass Pte Ltd, and enables governments and border authorities to reopen cross-border travel efficiently and safely.
To address privacy concerns, data entered into ICC AOKpass remains decentralized at all times and does not rely on centralised data records or external systems. Hardcopy certificates issued by medical professionals are digitised, authenticated and then made available for efficient verification by employers, authorities or any other third parties with no external transfer of personal information.
Security, transparency and strict privacy preservation are enabled using leading-edge blockchain technology co-developed by start-up AOKpass. ICC AOKpass is built on the Ethereum public blockchain network, ensuring complete user control over peer-to-peer sharing of COVID-19 medical compliance and personal health information.
In addition, all medical information and health certificates are attested to by certified medical practitioners, preventing fraud, reducing risks of in-flight infections, and rebuilding confidence in international travel.
Recognising the need for a common framework for the resumption of international travel and trade, ICC AOKpass is also adaptable to the specific needs of different companies and countries – evolving to align with ongoing development of COVID-19 serology testing methods and global best practices. For example, the app is being used to facilitate quarantine-free flights between New York City and Rome, through close collaboration with Delta Airlines and Alitalia. Since mid-December, all travellers have to present their digitally authenticated COVID-19 test results to board quarantine-free flights between Aeroporti di Roma and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
ICC AOKpass will also eventually allow verification for other immunisation and medical compliance records held by individuals, charting the path towards a safer, quicker, and more secure reopening of cross-border travel and trade.
Black Dot for International SOS
Black Dot for International SOS
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About the International SOS Group of Companies
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