Saturday, 13 February 2021

BARCODES TO END FAKE COVID CERTIFICATES

A barcoding system developed to verify the authenticity of Covid-19 certificates is expected to start working this week, as authorities try to put an end to fake coronavirus results.

All the country’s ports of entry will carry the system, which is able to instantaneously confirm the identity and results of every person who has tested for Covid-19.

Director for Informatics in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Dr Simukai Zizhou told The Sunday Mail that the system will be up and running by the end of the week.

“We have started with Robert Gabriel Mugabe Airport, where the system is already in use. We expect that by end of next week, all ports of entry will be online while all laboratories should also be able to feed the information into this database,” said Dr Zizhou.

“We have now started working on it with the laboratories. We have used what we call Laboratory Information Management System. When a sample is sent to the lab, it is barcoded. It then speaks to the Electrical Health Records or IMPILO, which is the trademark for the Electronic Health Records. Once it is connected to IMPILO, all ports of entry will be connected to it. So you can simply enter the barcode into our system for verification.”

The system is reportedly foolproof and eliminates the possibility of fake Covid-19 certificates.

Once the Covid-19 results are confirmed, they cannot be altered.

SADC Covid Testing (SCT) representative Mr Martin Gondo, whose organisation is working in partnership with Government, said the project was being spearheaded by Zimbabweans who have taken the system to other countries in the region.

“When we are done with testing, we input all the results and information of the patient into the system, including their photo, and at the ports of entry, the code is scanned and all the details will come out.

“We are working in more than three SADC countries . . .” Mr Gondo said.

Several people have been arrested for frequently producing certificates bearing fake Covid-19 results.

Last month, The Sunday Mail exposed how staff at a private laboratory, Klosad Clinical Diagnostics Lab, in Harare were issuing fake Covid-19 certificates for US$45 each instead of the US$65 charged for a legitimate PCR test.

The suspects were subsequently arrested and are currently before the courts. Sunday Mail

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