Technology

Locally-developed ‘digital health passport’ could unlock Australia’s international border gates

Border closures and hotel quarantine could soon become things of the past for Australia, thanks to the launch of a locally-developed ‘digital health passport’.

Led by infectious disease and border control experts, goPassport’s transparent and secure digital process is designed to significantly reduce COVID risks for travellers and host nations, while virtually eliminating the need for lengthy quarantine on arrival.

According to Klaus Felsche, co-founder of goPassport, the technology allows travellers to prove they are COVID-free before they begin their journey, and update authorities in real time about their health status, including any vaccinations or COVID-19 test results.

The technology’s ‘Health Risk Flag’ will also be made available to Australian border authorities to automate check-in, aircraft boarding and on-arrival clearance without a traveller having to show certificates or even the goPassport app.

For border authorities and others who do not have automatic access to the goPassport Health Risk Flag, the certificate will be visible in the goPassport app. A scan of the QR code will allow immediate confirmation that the status is genuine.

Felsche said goPassport allows COVID-19 risk management to happen offshore, before visitors travel to Australia, so that only very low-risk travellers arrive.

“This will ensure that these travellers represent no risk to our Australian community, as goPassport’s technical layers monitor clinical compliance, eliminating the risk,” he said.

With Australia preparing to reopen its borders in 2021 and hopes rising for an effective COVD-19 vaccine, goPassport chairman Matt McKinley said the technology will allow a quick restart for Australia’s $85 billion international export sector.

“The good news on the horizon is Pfizer’s and Moderna’s potential vaccines,” he said.

“However, for these vaccines to effectively support travel, an individual must be able to present their health status, so goPassport is going to be a crucial part of reopening Australia and many other countries.

The technology is backed by the Australian Tourism Export Council, with managing director Peter Shelley describing goPassport as “the technological and clinical backbone for the future of travel.

“Combined with the powerful logistics handling of managed travel, we can offer governments solutions to open borders with a ‘no gaps’ approach,” he said.

The founders of goPassport are currently seeking to raise up to $2 million through equity crowdfunding platform OnMarket.

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