Bahrain, Saudi to launch 'health passport' for smooth causeway travel

Bahrain's Information & eGovernment Authority (iGA) has signed a MoU with the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) to launch a ‘health passport’, which ensures that citizens and residents travelling between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia meet criteria set by both the kingdoms to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. 


The move supports the efforts of the National Taskforce for tackling the coronavirus, said a statement from iGA.


It aims to align the Covid-19 precautionary and monitoring measures of both kingdoms to streamline traffic via the King Fahd Causeway. 


It capitalizes on the technical compatibility of the BeAware Bahrain and Saudi’s ‘Tawakkalna’ apps by linking the health passport information hosted on the two apps with the two kingdom’s main passport systems, which helps determine the eligibility of travelers based on Covid-19 health rules.


Linking the systems will provide a comprehensive and accurate database of travellers, which will ease procedures and save the public time and effort, it stated. 


It will enable King Fahd Causeway employees to immediately inspect travellers’ personal and health data, as well as enhance security and privacy, it added.


The agreement was signed by iGA CEO Mohammed Ali Al Qaed and SDAIA President Dr Abdullah bin Sharaf Alghamdi at a ceremony held at SDAIA’s premises in Riyadh,  in the presence of Shaikh Hmood bin Abdulla bin Hamad Alkhalifa and other officials from both countries. 


Al Qaed thanked HM King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, King of Bahrain, for his directives from the onset of the pandemic, which prioritizes the health and safety of citizens and residents. 


He also commended the efforts in combatting the virus, led by the Crown Prince and Prime Minister, HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, and supported by the Minister of Interior, Lt- General Shaikh Rashid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, adding that the MoU reflects the close ties between the two countries and highlights their efforts to combat the virus. 


The iGA launched the BeAware Bahrain app on March 31, 2020, utilizing Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies and Big Data. 


Today, it has become a comprehensive government eSystem, offering a wide range of pandemic-related services such as vaccine and booster shot registration, PCR test results issuance, test appointment bookings, and services for travelers, such as arrival and departure declarations, payments for tests for arrivals, and more.


Al Qaed said that BeAware Bahrain has contributed to achieving Bahrain’s eParticipation, Digital, and Open Data policies, which were adopted in October.


The aim is to enhance the availability of information and eServices used by various sectors, encourage innovation, and support business.


Dr Alghamdi thanked King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, the SDAIA Chairman for his follow up and directives to enhance relations between the two countries, deploy technologies in achieving the highest levels of safety for travellers, and ease movement between the two countries. 


The MoU underlines the strong relationship between the two kingdoms and their commitment to the protection of citizens and residents from the impact of the pandemic.


Dr Alghamdi said that Saudi Arabia was one of the first countries to launch an eGovernment platform such as ‘Tawakkalna’, which supports efforts by government entities to limit the spread of Covid-19. 


"Users were able to easily access a range of pandemic-related services through the app, most notably the health passport, which sped up travel procedures by allowing access to PRC test results, information on vaccine doses, and Covid-19 insurance policies. The health passport is linked to borders systems and is required for verifications prior to the issuance of airplane tickets," he added.-TradeArabia News Service




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