The use of a blockchain-powered health system has been key in reopening travel for Chinese tourists between Guangdong and the autonomous peninsula that neighbours Hong Kong.
According to an official release China was able to reconvene the issuance of visas for tourists looking to travel to Macau. The autonomous region borders mainland Guangdong province and Hong Kong.
Given that the Coronavirus pandemic is believed to have originated in China, the country was one of the first to enact hard lockdowns across the country which curtailed travel, even between its bordering countries.
Once the country’s COVID-19 numbers began to wane, business and travel slowly opened up.
Macau blockchain-based health code
Macau developed its very own system to fight the COVID-19 pandemic through a partnership between the Serviços de Saúde de Macau (SSM) and Macao Science and Technology Development Fund (FDCT).
The partners set up a blockchain-based health code system dubbed the Macau blockchain health code.
The code is essentially a digital pass that people can use to access public spaces and has been used since mid-September 2020 to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. It’s success led to the system being interoperable with the Chinese mainland’s Guangdong health code system.
Macau had suspended tourist visa applications from January 2020 but the development of the Macau blockchain health code and its interoperability with the Guangdong health code has greatly improved the efficiency and accuracy cross-border information verification.
Blockchain answers information security and privacy protection regulations
The Macau blockchain health code system was developed on China’s opensource blockchain platform FISCO BCOS and WeIdentity.
According to the release, a major challenge in this endeavor has been the recognition of differing health codes and the information security and privacy protection regulations in China and Macau.
The two regions are not supposed to exchange data directly with each other due to regulations in their respective regions, but the health authorities and immigration departments need to verify the health information of people travelling between the borders.
Weldentity solves thos problem by encrypting ID and personal health data which are then verified with digital credentials that are signed off by the issuing health authorities of either region. The data is stored on the blockchain network and verified when a user crosses the border.
New tech for the new normal
As the world grapples with the new normal enforced by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, solutions such as these could vastly improve the efficiency and safety of travel.
Sensitive user data is able to be verified without it being compromised and travelers are being afforded a far more convenient way to share their health status and ID without having to interact with different platforms when traveling.