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As of today, more than 106 million coronavirus cases have been reported until now across the world. The staggering numbers are terrifying everyone across the world and new variants of the virus have been identified too. The first variant B.1.1.7 evolved in the UK and studies suggest that this is 70% more lethal for humans than the parent virus. Due to the same reason, many countries are under strict lockdown once again. Travel has been banned for any recreational purposes. People with genuine reasons or official purposes are allowed to travel. Let’s take a deeper look at the rules and how are airport authorities coping with it.
The new travel restrictions, all passengers have to submit a negative Covid report. The report should not be older than three days. None of the passengers will be allowed to travel otherwise. In the United Kingdom, there is a strict lockdown, however, travel for official or genuine reasons is an exception.
Other than the United Kingdom, many other countries have also imposed the new travel rule. Here are some of these countries:
The United States has restricted entries of all foreign nationals who have passed the UK, Iran, China, South Africa, and most of the European countries, and Ireland in the previous 14 days. Since January 26, every passenger (transit passenger or US national) has to submit a negative Covid report or antigen test that is taken no more than three days before the departure. Otherwise, they must submit a certificate that mentions the passengers’ recovery from Covid-19.
Arrivals from the UK can only enter the country for official reasons or under “absolute necessity” which must be declared in writing. All the passengers have to submit a negative Covid report and take a quick swab test at the airport. Lastly, passengers have to self-isolate for 14 days.
Passengers have to register remotely and all information must be submitted to the border authority. Arrivals belonging to high-risk states have to self-isolate for 10 days. If the passengers take the Covid test, however, and the reports are negative, quarantine will narrow down to day five.
The restrictions in Greece state that the Passenger Locator Form (PLF) must be filled 24 hours before the travel. If someone does not fulfil this requirement, they will have to pay a fine of €500. Otherwise, the Greek authorities will not allow the passenger to cross the borders. Covid test that is not older than 72 hours is mandatory and upon landing in Greece, arrivals have to take a Covid test. Furthermore, self-isolation is mandatory irrespective of the test results.
Currently, airports are using manual methods for verifying the Covid reports. However, the solution is inefficient. For verifying the reports, airport staff has to extract information in the MRZ or QR code, convert it into machine-readable language and follow the remaining steps.
Manually verifying every passenger’s test report takes a lot of time and leads to delays. It induces more pressure on the personnel that ultimately leads to errors. Even the slightest error during report verification can lead to an increase in health hazards. Since no alternative is available for verifying Covid test reports, airports are bound to follow manual methodologies.
Artificial Intelligence has brought several conveniences to our lives and different sectors of the world are employing AI-powered solutions for increasing the efficiency of the processes. Considering the new travel restrictions in different regions of the world, the travel sector can use Digital Covid report verification measures.
The solution deploys thousands of AI models and extracts data from the MRZ code or QR code embedded in the report. The data is then cross-checked with the information given on the report and other ID documents. The metric ensures that any fake negative Covid report is not submitted to dodge the new restriction. Shufti Pro has recently introduced Digital COVID Pass, an AI-powered solution for the travel industry to verify Covid reports in real-time. Moreover, it can reduce the stress on airport staff and streamline the cumbersome verification process.
To sum up, the travel sector is facing many challenges due to the pandemic and these new restrictions are the most distressing. Airports are currently using manual methods for verifying the Covid reports. However, the process is leading to increased delays and errors too. Passengers have to wait for at least an hour or two to get their reports verified and in some states, have a PCR test at the airport. With the help of a digital Covid test verification, it will get easier for the travel industry to verify identities as well as Covid reports.