Malawi establishes platform to detect fake Covid-19 travel Certificates

Concerned with an avalanche of reports that there are fake Covid-19 travel certificates making rounds in circulation, Malawi has launched a digital system that will be used to verify Covid-19 certificates for travellers in all ports of entries.

In a statement issued on Wednesday in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe made available to Nyasa Times and signed by Secretary for Health Charles Mwansambo, said the online verification system will ensure the integrity of certificates presented at various points of entry.

Dr Charles Mwansambo

“The Covid-19 pandemic continues to adversely impact global travel, disrupting trade, tourism and other economic activities,” reads in part the statement.

Further reads the statement: “To mitigate against these effects and to allow for economic activities dependent on international travel, many governments are requiring travellers to present negative Covid-19 certificates at various points of entry.”

Mwansambo said in the statement that the Ministry of Health is further notifying all travellers to first visit authorised laboratories in the country for an authentic Covid-19 travel certificate.

The Health Ministry listed the following as authorised bonafied laboratories; National Microbiology Reference Laboratory and all central hospitals in the country to get take a Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT PCR) Covid-19 test and get and “ensure that their test results have trusted travel (TT) codes that can be verified by airlines and health authorities at ports of entry ”.

According to the state, starting from July 1, 2021 no travel will be allowed to leave Malawi without verified certificates and those coming to Malawi will also require to produce a TC code issued after successful validation of their test result by the Global Haven verifier.

The digital verification system also comes in the wake of reports of fake traveller’s Covid-19 certificates.

Earlier this year, in January, 25 air passengers were barred from boarding their booked flights at the last minute at Kamuzu International Airport (Kia) in Lilongwe for allegedly possessing fraudulent Covid-19 travel clearance certificates.

The Covid-19 clearance document is now a standard requirement for those seeking to travel abroad in the face of the third wave of the Covid-19 attack.

Health minister, Khumbize Kandondo-Chiponda at the time expressed great shock and disappointment over the development and she demanded that all people involved in the issuing of the said ‘fake’ Covid-19 certificates should be investigated.

The minister promised that her ministry would do something on the matter to curb the malpractice which she described as a recipe for disaster and can increase transmission of Covid-19.

In an interview yesterday, Kandondo said: “The new digital system will help to stop the issuance of fake covid travel certificate as now every document will have to be verified before it can be used for travelling.”

Kandodo-Chiponda said there is a need for vigilance by government against unscrupulous people on all issues concerning Covid-19 because the danger is that out there there are warped-minded people who wants to cash in on the pandemic thereby putting other people’s lives at risk.

“The problem is that producing fake certificates will put a lot of people at risk of contracting the disease, hence we came up with this platform so we could put this to an end,” said Kandodo-Chiponda:

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