Emirates Looks To Digital COVID-19 Test Verification

Emirates has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) to implement digital verification of COVID testing and vaccination. The move comes amid a sharp rise in cases across the UAE since the new year, with the scheme expected to go live in the coming months.

Emirates Airbus A380
Emirates is looking to lead the way in establishing new digital solutions to combating COVID-19. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Emirates and Dubai Health Authority will co-ordinate efforts

Emirates has partnered with the DHA to position Dubai as one of the first cities in the world to use digital verification of medical records. The MoU affirms a commitment to link IT systems and create an integrated system enabling digital verification of medical information related to COVID testing and vaccinations. The project will undergo development immediately, with project leaders looking to implement it ‘live’ within months.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by His Excellency Awadh Al Ketbi, Director General of Dubai Health Authority (left), and His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Emirates’ Chairman and Chief Executive (right). Photo: Emirates

The scheme will help establish a more efficient system of sharing, storing and verifying health information related to COVID-19. Under the scheme, Emirates’ check-in and reservation systems will be linked to DHA-approved laboratories. This will significantly speed up the health verification process and help streamline the passenger experience.

The DHA will share traveler medical information with Emirates for a seamless travel experience. Photo: Emirates

Emirates’ Chairman and Chief Executive, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, said,

“It’s a natural step to combine our capabilities to implement digital verification of COVID-19 medical records, which will also enable contactless document verification at Dubai Airport. This will tremendously improve the traveller experience, as well as the reliability, efficiency and compliance with entry requirements imposed by destinations around the world.”

In a press release, Emirates clarified that the system would be implemented “in a secure and legally compliant manner.” Dubai has already established a reputation as one of the world’s leading cities in e-governance, having invested billions in technological innovations. This includes a vision to make Dubai a completely paperless city by 2021 and investing in emerging tech such as blockchain and AI.

Emirates tackles COVID on multiple fronts

The MoU signed with Dubai authorities is the latest step in a long line of actions Emirates has taken to combat the spread of COVID-19. Most notably, the airline was one of the first to partner with the International Air Travel Association (IATA) and its upcoming IATA Travel Pass.

Check-in Emirates
Emirates recently flew its first fully-vaccinated flight. Photo: Emirates

Emirates has also rolled out a touchless self-check-in experience at Dubai International Airport to reduce contact points. Its new touchless screens can be operated by scanning a QR code and selecting seats, all without a single touch.

The airline has also made progress on vaccinating its own staff, with almost 26,000 Emirates employees receiving two jabs. The airline notably conducted its first fully-vaccinated flight last week, with every single frontline employee (70 in total) across the operational scope vaccinated for a flight from Dubai to Los Angeles.

What do you think of the new digital verification scheme? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.