Platform for biometric ID COVID-19 immunity passport
Israel’s Pangea, which specialises in digital transformation of government and business services, is at the forefront of efforts to reopen airports and facilitate travel in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Herzliya-based company has devised an end-to-end platform for a biometric ID COVID-19 immunity passport, that will enable countries to reopen their airports and the entry of tourists while at the same time protect their population from a resurgence of the virus.
The comprehensive solution would enable governments to issue a biometric smart card to verify that the holder is virus free or has immunity.
Global health experts concur that without some sort of viable solution, the airline and travel industries, which have been severely affected by the pandemic, will find it difficult if not impossible to recover. Countries around the world are scrambling to find a solution to remove the bottlenecks and expedite the flow of passengers abroad.
Pangea’s solution involves the use of a smart card which serves as an immunity ‘passport’ allowing the holder to enter airport terminals and airplanes and removing the fear of spreading the virus to others. The card comprises a photo of the holder, a digital signature, a chip, and a hologram. The card can be securely linked to the country’s medical database and includes up to date encrypted data on the holder’s COVID-19 profile.
The issuing process would be overseen by the health ministry of each country and in cooperation with local health providers and hospitals. In addition, the issuing of the card would require the close cooperation of tourism ministries, airports, airlines, and insurance companies. The issuing of this type of card will necessitate close coordination of the countries whose citizens will be traveling between them.
Pangea’s solution is flexible and will support the protocol of each country, including that of Israel, which is currently in the process of being developed. The company’s sophisticated search engine will review each case and determine whether the card holder meets the necessary requirements for entry. The engine is dynamic and would be capable of making real time updates as countries revise their requirements to deal with a changing health environment.
Pangea is reportedly in talks with several governments on the use of the smart card in their countries.
Many governments, including the Israeli government, are considering preparing a protocol for the proposed COVID-19 ‘passport’ that will define the medical tests and processes required to be eligible for the document. This is likely to include a PCR test with the use of swabs for detecting presence of the virus to be conducted at a pre-determined period of time prior to the flight and/or an IgG or IGM serologic test for detecting antibodies to the virus.
The protocol will also calculate the level of risk associated with the city and region where the card applicant resides, in correlation to the spread of the virus, and note various isolation requirements in the country to which the card bearer is flying or in his home country on return from abroad.
Uzy Rozenthal, Pangea EVP and General Manager of the government division, explained: “The need to open up the economy is critical and existential, but it requires that each and every country adopt advanced solutions for reducing the danger of mass infection. For example, the 14-day isolation after a flight is not practical, both in the case of mass tourism involving tens of millions of people and in the case of businesspeople whose time is expensive.
“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. There is no doubt that 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, including safety during time spent in airport terminals and on planes.”
The next stage for Pangea will be to expand the capabilities of the COVID-19 smart card and turn it into a full scale medical ‘passport’ that will include all the holder’s relevant medical information. The card would in effect become a digital medical file that will display all medical information to the entire network of health providers including ambulances, medical emergency services, emergency rooms, hospital wards and other relevant organisations.
At present, in many countries, hospitals and the national health providers are not connected and hospitalisation occurs without most of the patient’s medical history. The medical 'passport' solution Pangea is planning to offer will solve this serious problem and enable more efficient and quality care with maximum security and privacy.In addition, this card can serve as a digital vaccination card that will replace the traditional vaccination card.