South Africa plans to adopt Covid-19 ‘travel pass’

 ·21 May 2021

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula says his department will work with industry to ensure that South Africa successfully reopens for international travel.

Presenting is departmental budget speech on Friday (21 May), Mbalula said that South Africa must ensure that it joins the growing number of countries that accepts the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) mobile travel pass.

This particular initiative was successfully tested by Singapore Airlines, and more than 20 carriers, he said.

“In recent months, Singapore has announced that it will accept visitors who use a mobile travel passes containing digital certificates for Covid-19 tests and vaccines,” Mbalula said.

“This makes Singapore one of the first countries to adopt this initiative. Singapore will accept the IATA mobile travel pass for pre-departure checks, where travellers can get clearance to fly to and enter Singapore by showing a smartphone application containing their data from accredited laboratories.”

The International Air Transport Association’s app is a digital solution that can be used by people to store Covid test results from accredited laboratories.

The app, being trialled by more than 20 carriers including Singapore Airlines, will be available for download in the second half of this month. IATA hopes such solutions will help drive the adoption of digital health certificates.

IATA said it aims to introduce further changes in the coming including enabling QR code scanning by immigration officers.

mapping tool developed by travel website Skyscanner shows that as of 20 May, South Africa has 62 ‘major restrictions’ from other countries in place.

These countries have suspended travel, may be closed to entry, or entry may only be possible if you are a citizen/meet strict entrance requirements.

By comparison, there are currently 92 moderate restrictions in place on South Africa, where travel is possible, but only if travellers meet certain entry requirements which can include taking Covid-19 tests.

Read: 4 changes for drivers in South Africa – including longer hours at licensing centres

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