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COVID-19 Certificate Forgery Leads Ethiopia to Go Digital for Travel Requirements

June 3 , 2021

Ethiopian health authorities will stop accepting paper certificates past June 30, 2021, due to what they say is an "alarming" increase in the use of forged health documents to bypass security protocols.

A letter signed by Lia Tadesse, minister of Health, compels all travellers entering, exiting or transiting through Ethiopia to present a digital copy of their negative COVID-19 test result certificates beginning June 7, 2021. Only those carrying valid certificates based on the African Union's Trusted Travel guidelines or the UNDP Global Haven Programme will be permitted through a port of entry.

The Ministry of Health has partnered with the AU, the Africa CDC and the PanaBIOS Consortium to implement an online system to verify travellers' COVID-19 certificates. Those wishing to leave Ethiopia must take a COVID-19 test at an authorised laboratory. If negative, they are issued Trusted Travel (TT) codes that can be verified at ports of entry throughout the continent.

Those entering Ethiopia must follow the same guidelines; however, travellers that cannot access a laboratory that has already been integrated into the Trusted Travel System are required to upload a photo of their certificate, which can be analysed to ensure its authenticity.

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