ZIMBABWEAN travellers will now have access to an online facility to help verify their Covid-19 status and only those with certificates obtained on the Trusted Travel platform or verified on the Global Haven systems will be able to leave or enter the country starting from August 7.
The Trusted Travel Platform offers an online digital platform for the verification and authentication of Covid-19 test results based on a collaborative effort across a network of participating Covid-19 testing laboratories and Port Health authorities in Africa.
The platform allows for the detection of counterfeit travel documents and also enhances cross-border collaboration and confidence in Covid-19 results originating from other countries. The platform further provides updated information on entry requirements and travel restrictions for participating states.
In Zimbabwe, the Trusted Travel Platform will be fully available for use from August 1.
From August 7, only Covid-19 certificates obtained on the Trusted Travel platform or verified on the Global Haven systems will be valid for exit or entry into Zimbabwe.
In a statement, the Ministry of Health and Child Care said residents intending to leave Zimbabwe will access authentic tests from different laboratories across the country mainly from Government hospitals.
The ministry said the African Union, Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC) and other partners, working with PanaBIOS as technical leads, have introduced the Trusted Travel Initiative to support AU member states to harmonise and enhance their health screening systems.
PanaBIOS provides bio-surveillance and bio-screening technology, data and insights to enable the creation of Public Health Corridors within the broader AU Open Corridors Initiative.
“The Government of Zimbabwe has taken note of the growing prospect of another wave in the Covid-19 cycle in the region. Such a wave could be worsened by the circulation of dangerous new variants from overseas,” said the ministry.
“Zimbabwe, like most countries, has tried to minimise the risk of disease importation from the onset of the pandemic by requiring international travellers to produce evidence of a negative Covid-19 test at Points of Entry.
“However, as the risk grows, so does the critical need to strengthen the system and to harmonise cross-border Covid-19 requirements, thereby ensuring the integrity of certificates present,” read the statement.
The ministry said this platform will ease travel for both travellers into and out of the country. Passengers intending to undertake international travel are expected to present themselves to any one of Trusted Travel accredited laboratories for a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Covid-19 test.
Bulawayo residents will be able to access the tests from the United Bulawayo Hospitals laboratory and Mpilo Central Hospital laboratory. Accredited laboratories for Matabeleland South are at Beitbridge District Hospital and Gwanda Provincial Hospital.
In Matabeleland North accredited laboratories include Lupane Hospital and Bio Express Lab in Victoria Falls. Those in Midlands will access the tests from Gweru Provincial Hospital while those in Masvingo will go to Masvingo Provincial Hospital, Collin Saunders Memorial Hospital and Gutu Mission Hospital. Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital will cater for Mashonaland West province while Marondera Provincial Hospital will cater for Mashonaland East.
In Mashonaland Central the same service will be accessible, from Bindura Provincial Hospital and in Manicaland from Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital. In Harare the service will be at Bio Express Labs (Pvt), Cimas Medlabs, Lancet Clinical Laboratories, National Microbiology Reference Laboratory, National TB Reference Laboratory, Parirenyatwa Central Hospital, Sally Mugabe Central Hospital and the United Nations Clinic. Newly-accredited laboratories can be found by visiting the Trusted Travel portal.
“When a test has been run, the laboratory will generate a Trusted Travel test (TT) code that can be verified by airlines and Port Health Authorities to confirm that the test came from an accredited laboratory. Travellers will then receive a text message from PanaBios and an email from the testing laboratory with a link that will allow the traveller to create an account at trusted travel. Panabios and access the Trusted Travel Test Code (TT). Travellers must ensure when creating an account to access the results reported by the laboratory that they use the same email address and phone number that they gave to the laboratory.
“If the test results issued satisfy the full requirements set by Zimbabwe and the country of destination for example, validity period or test type then a Travel Code (TC) will be issued to the traveller online for presentation to airlines and Port Health Authorities. Inbound-travellers with results from non-Trusted Travel-compliant laboratories will be required to upload a copy of their results on the Global Haven System for authentication. Uploading forged documents will undermine the ability to travel globally.