The Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Health, Mutahi Kagwe, has announced that travelers out of Kenya need to visit authorized laboratories to take COVID-19 tests so as to be issued with Trusted Travel (TT) codes. These codes will be verified by airlines and Port Health authorities.
This directive comes after the UAE issued a visa ban on Kenyans, allegedly after visitors were found using forged certificates. The 21 travelers were attempting to fly to Dubai when they were apprehended at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA). They were accused of using forged medical documents that certified they tested negative for coronavirus in advance of travel.
On another flight from Nairobi to Dubai, about 100 Kenyans were reportedly found with similar falsified documents and later turned COVID-19 positive after retesting was done on arrival in Dubai.
The Ministry of Health has also announced collaboration with the African Union and Africa CDC, with the technical support from PanaBIOS, to implement an online system to authenticate and verify travelers’ COVID-19 certificates in line with the guidelines of the Trusted Travel Initiative (TTI). This will ensure the integrity of COVID certificates is upheld.
Travelers will receive a text message (SMS) and an email with a link from PanaBiOS, to guide them to generate a Travel Code at trustedtravel.panabios.org. If a test result meets the exit and entry requirements of Kenya and the traveler’s destination, a Travel Code (TC) is then issued to the traveler online.
In Kenya, all RT PCR COVID-19 testing laboratories have been onboarded to the TT system. In-bound travelers from countries yet to onboard to the Trusted Travel Initiative will use a tool made available through the UNDP-supported Global Haven partnership for Covid-19 test results and vaccine certificates verification.
In November last year, Kenya received a travel blow as the UAE decided to stop giving visas to citizens of 13 African countries, including Kenya, Somalia, Libya, Tunisia and Algeria.
Following the new directives given by the Ministry, all travelers departing from Kenya will be expected to have the TT code on them test result certificates. Beginning Monday, 11th January, 2021, no departures from Kenya will be permitted, without verification of their certificates using the TT process. Furthermore, no laboratories are permitted to issue COVID-19 certificates without TT codes from 9th January 2021.
These digital services will be delivered at no cost to citizens or related government agencies as a result of collaboration with AU bodies, UN institutions, technology companies, telecom operators and standards organizations.
All citizens and organizations are strongly encouraged to cooperate and comply to guarantee the safe reopening of Kenya to the rest of the world.