TT – TRUSTED TRAVEL INITIATIVE RAINS MORE CHALLENGES ON TRAVELERS
(Posted 25th January 2021)
While Kenya and other countries have launched mandatory TT codes as an entry requirement in addition to a valid time conforming COVID19 PCR test, has this reportedly been adding to the many hoops and hurdles travelers have to jump through and navigate.
Many, not just a few or a few dozen, travelers faced difficulties accessing the respective websites, misunderstood the prompts and processes involved and in many cases was the absence of a WiFi connection or network based internet connection just another reason why the requirements could ultimately not be met.
Sources from the UK are suggesting that health authorities at airports there have been guided to exercise discretion when a traveler has for whatever reason failed to secure a TT code and use ‘Hard Copies‘ for verification purposes.
It is therefore recommended, wherever possible, to obtain the test result in hard copy and have it stamped and signed by the lab or test location, and then carry a couple of copies along, which may have to be left at checkpoints along the journey route, especially when traveling by air and connecting through or to countries where a TT code is now required.
The same applies to the receipt for the test, which original should be brought along too together with a couple of copies, to avoid getting stuck in the maze of the latest demands on travelers in order to get to their destination.
In Uganda at the same time has the CAA and other authorities again failed to make it absolutely clear that a hard copy of the PCR test is required when leaving the country and that a copy on a traveler’s phone is no longer enough.
The notice speaks of: ‘Present authentic and valid COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test certificate issued within 120 hours of travel‘ which unsuspecting travelers may interpret – and according to information from Entebbe still do even though the message is slowly getting through – as having complied when they get the results of their test emailed or sent to them via WhatsApp or Signal and then present them at the airport health check point on the screen of their phone.
With late evening or night departures this can pose a substantial challenge to travelers who have to find a location at the airport where the test result can be printed and during my last flight out of Entebbe did I witness travelers scramble in the end to make it to the check in on time before the flight closed.
While airport operators and health authorities demand ‘social distancing‘ of 6 feet, 2 metres or 1.5 metres, depending on which airport you are going through, are staffing levels at the bottleneck checkpoints often too low, and too slow to respond to a pile up of travelers, clearly showing that they need to do more to prevent long lines of anxious travelers which as witnessed – also on arrival after my last flight in Brussels – a substantial shorting of the distance measures demanded.
This narrative shows the urgent need for a global convention of how travel should be facilitated and IATA recommendations for the establishment of a global travel pass / inoculation pass along the lines of the Yellow Fever inoculation certificate are the best way forward – instead of a piecemeal approach by airport operators and health authorities not just in Africa but across the globe.
‘Too many cooks spoil the broth‘ is a befitting reminder and closing line, that after a year of the pandemic much still has to be learned on how to coordinate and align requirements, regulations and guidelines to make them as uniform as possible, or else will a swift revival of travel remain a pipedream.