Only digital COVID-19 certificates will be used


Due to the increasing number of fake health documents and rising incidents of forgery detected since the onset of the pandemic, the Ministry of Health has moved to halt the giving of COVID-19 test results by paper means by changing the system to digital which people can receive their COVID-19 test results through a digital certificate. In addition, the ministry has updated its travel advisory which now requires the AU COVID-19 pass for entry and exit.
The COVID-19 test result which is taken locally is highly characterized by false positive and false negative continue to be rejected globally. The new system is therefore expected to decrease the false result.
In view of continued surges of COVID -19 cases in some parts of the world and the need to strengthen health screening at Ethiopian boarders the Ministry of Health has announced that starting June 7, all travelers exiting, entering or transiting through Ethiopia to all destinations shall be expected to present a digital negative COVID-19 certificate.
The certificates shall be presented at all ports of entry based on the Africa Union’s Trusted Travel guidelines, and the UNDP-sponsored Global Haven Program. The ministry also added that in the country, all authorized RT PCR COVID-19 testing laboratories have already been registered on the African Union TT system.
“This is as a result of the continued surge of COVID-19 cases in some parts of the world and the need to strengthen health screening at Ethiopian borders for the long-term biosecurity of the country,” Lia Tadesse, Minister for Health said.
The ministry also stated that paper certificates shall cease to be acceptable and only AU Trusted Travel or Global Haven COVID-19 test certificates shall be allowed for exit, transit and entry purposes from July 1.
Airlines have as well been instructed to pre-validate all test results and certificates used for travel purposes before boarding travelers bound for Ethiopia.
In March 2, 2020 the first infected people were found in the country and since then the testing capacity in Ethiopia and world has continued to rise, similarly, more and more asymptomatic individuals have undergone testing.
Though the number of daily tests has jumped from 0 on march to 5000 people on average, more efforts is being looked into to minimize the false positive and negatives. Even if efforts has been made to decrease low test sensitivity, false negative continue to pose much consequential threat and hold priority since they have the power to cause devastating spread since the propagation of the epidemic especially by asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic patients remains high.
But false negatives are not the only errors bedeviling coronavirus diagnostics. False positives, which incorrectly identify a healthy person as infected by the virus, can have serious consequences as well, especially in places where the virus is scarce.
False positives are generally very rare among tests that have been vetted but any test can be plagued by contamination, mishandling or technical glitches, leading a device to spot the coronavirus where it is not. However, in retrospect false positives may seem relatively harmless in comparison with their false-negative compatriots.
Ethiopia has thus far registered 272,246 positive coronavirus cases and 4,185 deaths.