Government to introduce new digital Covid-19 certificate for South Africa – what you should know

 ·10 Sep 2021

The government has commenced with the development of a digital Covid-19 vaccination certificate which will confirm that a person has been vaccinated in South Africa, says health minister Dr Joe Phaahla.

Addressing media on Friday (10 September), Phaahla said that the certificate will be available through a person’s smartphone, which can then also be printed out.

Phaahla said that the certificate has been developed with fraud and other security protections and will align with international standards.

“This initiative is in line with the World Health Organisation initiated vaccination certificate. Through this, the WHO attempting to standardise vaccination proof all over the world,” he said.

This certificate should be available to those who are vaccinated in ‘just over a week’ the minister said.

Phaahla clarified that the documentation would be made available for those recently vaccinated and those vaccinated several months ago – as long as a person’s personal information is reflected in the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) system.

The health minister said that the certificate would likely be used for certain services in the future, but the government has no intention to make the certificate a requirement for accessing public services.

Instead, Phaahla said that the document would be used to gain entry to entertainment and sporting events and possibly some businesses.

Further details on the new certificate are expected to be announced in the coming days.

The introduction of a vaccine certificate comes as the government prepares to ease lockdown restrictions in South Africa.

Larger public gatherings are likely to be permitted, making it easier for political parties to campaign for upcoming municipal elections, according to two people with knowledge of the deliberations within government, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public, Bloomberg reported.

It said that alcohol trading hours are set to be extended, and an evening curfew will likely be shortened.

The National Coronavirus Command Council met on Tuesday to assess the regulations. President Cyril Ramaphosa will discuss planned changes with officials from religious groups, political parties and civil rights groups ahead of an address to the nation in the coming days, when he is expected to move the country to virus alert level two.

On Thursday (9 September), South Africa reported 6,270 new Covid-19 cases, representing a 12% positivity rate.

A further 175 Covid-19 related deaths have been reported, bringing total fatalities to 84,327 to date. The country administered 225,558 vaccines over the past 24 hours, taking the total number of vaccines administered to 14,367,151.

Read: Vaccine-evading Covid mutations warning

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