Health Tech

Airlines test app for travelers to share their Covid-19 results

The app, developed by the Commons Project Foundation and the World Economic Forum, lets travelers share vaccination records, Covid-19 test results and health declarations.

A volunteer uses CommonPass to board a flight from London to Newark. The CommonPass health pass allows travellers to securely share their Covid-19 status across international borders. Photo credit: CommonPass

Most countries currently have restrictions in place barring non-essential travel, and health authorities recommend staying home. But for those who anticipate a trip across international borders in the future, there are a slew of ever-changing requirements, from mandatory quarantine periods to Covid-19 test requirements. For instance, travelers going from the U.S. to France can be refused boarding without a negative test result taken less than three days before departure.

The Commons Project, a nonprofit developing systems for patients to store and share their health data, is developing a tool for travelers to check international travel requirements and share the needed documentation. It’s partnering with the World Economic Forum to bring this system to 52 countries.

Currently, Covid-19 test results are shared using a piece of paper — or simply a photo of the document, which can leave room for confusion. The platform, called CommonPass, assesses whether an individual’s results meet a country’s health screening requirements.

Travelers can upload their test results, health declarations and vaccination records to the system. Information can be pulled in from national registries or health record apps, such as Apple Health or CommonHealth.  CommonsPass says the system does not share any underlying personal health information, and users’ health records are only stored on their phone.

“Without the ability to trust Covid-19 tests – and eventually vaccine records – across international borders, many countries will feel compelled to retain full travel bans and mandatory quarantines for as long as the pandemic persists,” Dr. Bradley Perkins, Chief Medical Officer of The Commons Project, said in a news release. “With trusted individual health data, countries can implement more nuanced health screening requirements for entry.”

The Commons Project and the World Economic Forum tested the system on a United Airlines flight from London to Newark, New Jersey. It was also tested on a Cathay Pacific flight between Hong Kong and Singapore. In November and December, the Commons Project plans to implement the tool in additional routes, CEO Paul Meyer stated.

The U.S. is still restricting entry for people who have been in the UK, Ireland, the Schengen zone, Iran, Brazil or China in the past two weeks.