.. a giant leap to suppress the pandemic
Since March 2020, the world has tried several versions of lockdown - shelter in place, complete lockdown,closing and then opening national borders, sealing partial borders, inter-state travel, international air bubble flights. There seems to be a tug of war between saving lives and keeping the economy running in an attempt to achieve an equilibrium.
As a prerequisite, almost 75 countries have mandated one or more of the following –
A COVID negative certificate, 72 hours prior to flying
COVID test on arrival
Stringent two-week quarantine at the arrival country
Unfortunately, there have been several instances where this need for COVID Immunity certificate has been plagued by an underbelly of fake certificates. Not only this even the medical front-liners are not spared as there has been a reported surge in fake certificates for medical essentials and equipment like PPE kits, oximeters and diagnostic kits. In a recent incident, a clinic in Dhaka, Bangladesh issued as many as 6300 fake COVID 19 negative certificates. A responsible Miami student tweeted about how casually she was advised to obtain a fake COVID Negative certificate to skip the 14-day quarantine.
Although the evolution of Quick Response (QR) codes dates back to over two decades, but it’s only in the last five years that we are becoming more aware about the universality and dynamism of the QR codes. Globally, while China is the unofficial QR code capital where 93% of the population uses QR codes to make payments, avail offers and for authentication, QR codes have given a different meaning to a retailer’s marketing strategy, Amazon’s packages, best deal offers, retrieving product information and the latest Augmented Reality (AR) fad.
Traditionally, QR codes are interchangeably used in the Fintech industry, but there are manifold benefits of QR codes even in healthcare-
Keeping in mind that trust and validated documents are an imperative for the healthcare sector; Secure QR codes which are digitally signed by the private key of the issuer ensure that the documents are tamper and manipulation-proof. On demand basis, these documents can be easily validated in real time.
The Seal of Trust with QR code
Globally while the essential services were given immunity from the lockdown curfew, they required the mandatory movement pass so that the citizens are not deprived of bare necessities.
The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI), decided to issue tamper-proof special passes that would help achieve the twin purpose of containing the spread of the pandemic and yet continue to maintain the supply and distribution of essential services. To fulfill the same, KNCCI in partnership with the Ministry of Industrialization, zeroed upon secure QR code technology. Techno Brain, a trusted partner for KNCCI and the ministry collaborated with Qryptal to deploy this secure QR code technology for these passes.
The movement stickers are embedded with tamper-proof, encrypted and highly secure QR code which could be verified on demand. The centralized and quick solution was coupled with the critical requirement of easy verification. The physically affixed stickers captured & encrypted the car registration number, name of the driver, national ID number and the company name. You can read more about this here.
Commenting on their partnership with Qryptal, Nandan Gopalakrishna, Managing Director, Identity Management, Technobrain says “While zeroing in on an e-pass solution for Kenyan essential service workers, we wanted an easy to use, secure and privacy centric technology and Qryptal’s Secure QR code technology aptly fit the bill. As the current pandemic demands a seamless and verifiable collaboration, the QR code technology is fast bridging the silos. We hope to use it in many other use cases soon.”
How Does Qryptal Secure QR Code Work ?
Based on Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and established cryptography, laboratories, testing centers and hospitals using this system, just need to share their public key to enable third parties to securely validate any information issued by them.
As the QR code validation just requires the public key, anyone with the app or a web validation system which has the corresponding public key can verify the information. The privacy of the patient remains intact as the information is shared by them directly with the authorities on demand as required and not otherwise. The core integration to implement this solution is completed within a day.
The current pandemic has offered enough testing grounds for Secure QR code technology to go mainstream for effective healthcare delivery, equipment and drug approvals, patient management, medical and vaccination records verification.
Genuine, contactless and globally verifiable health certificates can be the real game changer to prevent the spread of diseases and epidemics. If that is to be the end goal, there must be a consistent global method to verify their authenticity. Given the enormous numbers of travelers, and in many cases, with the propensity of unscrupulous elements to falsify such documents, the lives of co-passengers and those of citizens of the visiting country are put to risk unless one ensures the authenticity of such documents and allows only healthy people to travel.
Covid antibody report with a secure QR code- an illustration
Sample Antibody test report with Secure QR Code
The World Bank in its Global economic outlook (June 2020) states that “The baseline forecast envisions a 5.2 percent contraction in global GDP in 2020, using market exchange rate weights—the deepest global recession in decades.” We are in the sixth month since our world has been rocked by this unprecedented pandemic but it’s high time that we get out of the panic mode and learn to thrive and uplift the human spirit to win with utmost prudence. Celebrate our little victories through corona cakes, corona masks to educate the lesser privileged and yes say it with elan that our COVID tests are secure QR code verified! Our small genuine gestures will be a giant leap to contain the pandemic