The Department of Health on Thursday announced the launch of a pilot programme for a new Web-based travel health questionnaire to increase efforts to strengthen active screening and surveillance at ports of entry into South Africa.
The department says with the full resumption of international travel, the digital screening solution, which goes live on December 15, will allow travellers to complete the required travel health questionnaire (THQ) on their personal devices ahead of their arrival at the ports of entry.
On Wednesday Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize announced that the country was in the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mkhize highlighted that South Africa has breached 6 000 in terms of new cases. The cumulative cases stand at 828 598.
The department is intending to make a move from paper-based screening systems to a digitized screening solution in a phased approach.
Travellers can complete their travel and symptomatic information two days ahead of their journey to ensure that the exposure and symptoms information provided is relevant.
Once completed, the traveller will receive a unique number to present to Port Health officials at the respective ports of entry to proceed with the screening process.
Mkhize said as more travellers use the system it will fast-track screening at ports of entry.
As of December 17, international travellers arriving at OR Tambo International Airport, those departing from Cape Town International Airport, those entering the country through Beit Bridge land border and those exiting through Maseru Bridge land border will be expected to complete the Web-based THQ.
The paper-based system for Covid-19 screening will continue to be in operation at all other operational ports of entry.
“This system will play a critical role in assisting Port Health with managing travellers, identifying potential high-risk travellers and to respond effectively. Security of personal information was one of the top priorities throughout the development of this system. Accordingly, best practice guidelines as per the POPI Act are followed to protect all traveller’s personal information at all times,” the department said.
Travellers who have already booked their tickets can still access the Web-based THQ at any time after the system goes live.
The THQ can be accessed here: https://sa-covid-19-travel.info/