A Singaporean citizen returning to the country from Japan on December 21 became the first person in the world to use a digital Covid-19 health certificate while crossing the border, the companies behind the pass said in a statement.
According to International SOS, the International Chamber of Commerce, and AOKpass, an unidentified passenger on Singapore Airlines flight SQ637 was able to use the ICC AOKpass to officially present a negative Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test upon arrival at Changi Airport’s immigration counters.
"This was the first time an immigration authority has used a blockchain based, digitally verifiable health certificate," the statement said, adding the certificate had been issued by Shinagawa East Medical Centre in Japan.
"Following the successful pilot program, all travelers, starting with Malaysia and Indonesia will now be able to use ICC AOKpass to digitally authenticate their COVID-19 test results, as well as any other necessary health credentials during immigration at Changi Airport," the statement said, adding that digital certificates were a major leap forward compared to the paper passes that have been used previously.
In the statement, Chester Drum, cofounder of AOKpass, said "as we look towards the revival of widespread international travel and trade, there is an urgent need for a common framework in certifying, authenticating and securing the results of a Covid-19 test for air transport stakeholders and local health authorities."
"In addition, users must trust that their data privacy is managed well, with no risk of personal data leaks," Drum added. "The use of blockchain technology is a critical step in combating the challenges of forged tests and medical records, while enabling quick and secure verification of Covid-19 test results for travelers to have peace of mind throughout their journey."
Many countries require passengers to demonstrate proof of a negative Covid test before traveling, and as vaccines are rolled out worldwide, immigration authorities may begin to ask for certification that people have been vaccinated against the infection.