Covid-19 tests reports to be soon linked to CoWIN app to help ease foreign travel
The government will soon link RT-PCR tests for Covid-19, which are mandatory for travel in some states and countries abroad, to the CoWIN application, National Health Authority chief RS Sharma said Sunday.
Currently, citizen’s vaccination certificates are attached to the portal, which help them travel between states and also abroad. The move will help travellers prove that they have undergone authentic tests, certified by the government, Sharma told NDTV in an interview.
“What we are doing is we are working with Director General of the ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research), and we already have developed a system like you can, you know, download the CoWIN certificate. Similarly, now you will download the RT-PCR certificate digitally signed and actually we are we are through with that journey," he said.
For travel to most countries, RT-PCR tests must be performed 48 to 48-hours in advance of departure. However, many countries have yet to approve CoWIN as a vaccine passport.
According to Sharma, there were initial attempts to have a multilateral agreement that every country’s digital vaccination certificate would be accepted as a digital passport, but that it did not work out.
“There is an attempt now on a bilateral basis — I accept your country’s passport and you accept mine. So those discussions are going on with our Ministry of External Affairs in both countries," he said. India has aligned its vaccination certificates with international standards from the beginning of the inoculation drive.
Sharma said since the QR code is encrypted, the information which is required on a passport is actually there are on the digital certificate vaccine certificate. “So we have created a packet of all the information and this packet is given to the Ministry of External Affairs," he said. He informed that the Civil Aviation ministry was also collaborating on the move.
Some European states agreed to accept vaccinations manufactured in India in July. After India made it clear that vaccine acceptance will be reciprocated, eight European Union countries — Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Estonia, and Spain — affirmed that they will accept the India-manufactured Covishield vaccination for travel entry.
Several other countries, like the United Kingdom, continue to reject Indian nationals’ vaccination status, even if they have been vaccinated with Covishield, which is not only recognised by the World Health Organization but has also been exported to the UK.