How do you know a COVID-19 test certificate is real?
If you’re struggling to answer that question, the Kenyan government just answered it.
The Answer: Adopt an online system to authenticate and verify COVID-19 certificates.
In the bid to curb the use of fake covid-19 certificates and hasten the process of verification, the Kenyan Government adopted an online system to authenticate and verify COVID-19 certificates. This started from Monday, January 11th.
But Kenya isn’t the only African country that needs this technology. Last year, in Nigeria it was reported that for N25,000 ($50), travellers could get fake COVID-19 test results from government officials.
In the UK, it was also reported that fake documentation was being sold for 150 pounds (about $200) in Branford and 50 pounds (about $65) in Blackburn.
To combat the widespread use of counterfeit certificates around the globe, authorities are finding direct ways to transmit results, so that falsified documentation doesn’t slip through the system. In Hawaii, for example, only results from approved testing partners will be accepted, and they must be transmitted digitally.
Notably, Counterfeit certificates don’t seem to be common in countries where testing is widespread like the US.
Bottomline: Forged certificates are mostly obtained due to the inability to easily obtain certificates either due to time constraint or high cost. For instance, officially obtaining a test certificate costs ₦ 50,400 ($105) when travelling out of Nigeria, and on arrival at the Ghanian airport it costs GH₵ 858 ($142) to do the same. A high price to pay when you consider that the average price for one way flights from Lagos to Accra is $146.
Using technology to authentic certificates is a good step forward but ultimately, a more lasting solution would be to make process of obtaining a certificate faster and less expensive.