The new lockdown rules, announced on Wednesday by President Ramaphosa, included an end to the ‘red list’, or the list of countries with high rates of COVID-19 infections banned from entering South Africa.
The criteria for entering the country includes the presentation of a negative COVID-19 test/certificate upon arrival.
A number of countries globally have implemented the same safety measure at airports for those leaving or flying in.
Unsurprisingly, this presented fraudsters with the opportunity to scam the system by selling fake negative certificates.
On November 6, BBC reported that police arrested seven people accused of trying to sell fake negative test certificates to departing passengers at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.
The fakes would have been sold for up to €300 (roughly R5 500) each, prosecutors say.
The seven people, who had been running an unlicensed business as luggage-wrappers, were charged with forgery, use of forgery, and complicity in fraud.
The arrests came after the certificate of a passenger bound for Ethiopia was found to be false.
The fake certificates bore the names of real Parisian medical laboratories.
The penalty, should they be found guilty, is up to five years in prison and a €375 000 fine.
Per the Lancashire Telegraph, instances of certificate fraud have also been discovered at UK airports.
They interviewed one man, who chose not to be named, who said that he was able to travel to Pakistan with a fake negative COVID-19 test.
“It is quite simple. Everyone knows someone who has had a Covid test.
“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.”
“You download the email, change it and then print it.”
“People are doing this as you can’t get a Covid 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.”
He says that one of the factors leading to people seeking out fraudulent certificates is the high cost of a COVID-19 test.
Those travelling from Heathrow are now able to obtain a legitimate rapid COVID-19 test before flying.
I have a feeling that this isn’t the last time that we’ll hear about fake tests.
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