As RT-PCR tests for COVID-19 is mandatory for travel in some states within India and during travel abroad, the tests will be linked to the govt’s CoWIN app, the way vaccination certificates are attached now, RS Sharma, chief of the National Health Authority, told NDTV in an interview today. This, he said, will help travellers prove that they have undergone authentic tests, certified by the government.
“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 through with that journey,” Sharma said.
Most countries require an RT-PCR test within 72 hours or 96 hours prior to travel, but many nations are yet to accept CoWIN as a vaccine passport.
Sharma said initially, there were attempts to have a multilateral agreement that every country’s digital vaccination certificate will be accepted as a digital passport, but that didn’t 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, from the beginning, has aligned its vaccination certificates with international standards.
“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, adding that the Civil Aviation ministry is also collaborating on this.