Israel-based digital ID card maker Pangea has announced that it has developed a new biometric smart card that can be used as an ‘immunity passport’ by governments to identify individuals who are safe to travel, thus helping to open borders to tourism once again in the wake of COVID-19.
Though the details behind the immunity credentials have yet to be confirmed, The Times of Israel reports that the solution is likely to include a requirement that the holder has passed the common swab polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test at a minimum predetermined period of time before a given flight.
There is also likely to be a risk score, at least partially determined by the holder’s city of residence or where they spent time prior to the scheduled flight date. Additionally, the destination of the holder will be taken into consideration, noting whatever isolation measures may be in place upon their arrival.
This comes at a time when, after the outbreak of COVID-19, countries around the world are beginning to ease travel restrictions and slowly reopen their borders to travelers from select countries and with guidelines and protocols to prevent the spread of the virus. In the U.K., digital identity verification company Onfido has been in talks with the government to provide it with a digital immunity passport linked to the holder’s digital ID.
Pangea’s card itself is made up of a photograph of the holder, a digital signature, and a chip as well as a hologram. It will contain up-to-date information regarding the individual’s COVID-19 profile, and be encrypted and securely linked to the national medical database in countries where this is an option.
To ensure compliance with local authorities and to maximize safety, Pangea said in a statement that the cards would need to be issued and overseen by the county’s health ministry and would need to have the full cooperation of local health providers and hospitals, as well as airports, airlines, tourism ministries and insurance companies.
Each individual case would be run through Pangea’s search engine — which is capable of updating in real-time as countries revise their individual travel requirements pertaining to COVID-19 — for review and to determine the level of risk associated with allowing the cardholder to travel.
Speaking on the idea behind the immunity passport, Pangea Executive Vice President Uzy Rozenthal said it would ideally eliminate the need for mandatory 14-day quarantine periods upon arrival.
“The immunity ‘passport’ we developed would enable the creation of sterile areas where there is no danger of infection and where thousands of people would feel safe to conduct any activity without fear,” Rozenthal said. “Our card and platform are one of the keys to the opening up of the skies and mass movement of millions of tourists and businesspeople from country to country.”
Pangea has indicated that it hopes to eventually expand the smart card’s scope to include all of the holder’s relevant medical info, essentially turning into a medical passport that can be used by hospitals and medical providers, following the growing trend of the digitization of healthcare and the shift to electronic health records that is happening around the globe.
Source: The Time of Israel
June 22, 2020 -by Tony Bitzionis