With most countries worldwide making Covid-19 tests mandatory for passengers travelling by air, some are worsening the already- strained situation by obtaining fake health certificates on the black market.
With the second wave of the novel coronavirus pandemic spreading across the world, air-bound international passengers are flouting the primary Covid-19 regulation. Instead of securing a negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test within 72 of their flight time, which determines whether a person is infected by the Covid-19 virus or not, travellers are buying fake test results a few hours prior to their departure, exposing fellow passengers to the danger of contracting the virus.
Health officials in France said on Friday that seven people had been arrested for selling fake certificates showing negative Covid-19 results for travellers at Paris’s largest airport, Charles de Gaulle.
The six men and a woman, between 29 and 52 years of age, were charged with forgery and complicity in fraud.
The fake certificates were being sold to passengers for $180 to $360.
The investigation started with the discovery of a passenger, who checked in for a flight in September to Addis Ababa, with a phoney document that confirmed negative test results.
The Lancashire Telegraph reported how some passengers are using fake certificates to board flights to Pakistan.
The report revealed that people could print out such fake results in the name of a doctor and show them to check-in staff at the UK airports.
Since 5 October, all international visitors to Pakistan have needed to prove their negative Covid-19 results - they require being tested within 96 hours of the start of the flight.
A man from Blackburn said he obtained a negative test from his friend. He changed the name and printed it out to use before the flight. Suddenly, his travelling to Pakistan was perfectly achievable.
“You can simply get their negative test and change the name and birthdate to your own. You also put a test date on which is within the time limit required,” the man told the Lancashire Telegraph.
“You download the email, change it and then print it.”
“People are doing this as you can’t get a Covid-19 test if you have to travel to Pakistan in case of an emergency. It is difficult to get one unless you are a key worker.”
Moreover, last month, four tourists were arrested in Brazil for allegedly faking Covid-19 tests in an attempt to reach Fernando de Noronha, a group of islands off northern Brazil.
The two men and two women were arrested after landing, according to a statement on the archipelago’s official website.