Passengers using fake tests in order to travel is a problem that confounds the re-opening rules several countries have put in place to reduce the amount of virus brought into the country by travel.
In some parts of the world it’s hard to get tests. In some parts of the U.S. it’s hard to get test results quickly. For testing to work it has to be convenient and fast, and then it works even better to prevent spread of Covid-19. A rapid test on departure or arrival is likely better than a PCR test taken 72 or 96 hours prior to departure, especially in an area with widespread virus transmission.
Overall the number of Covid-19 cases attributable to travel is very small as a proportion of total cases, and testing doesn’t create a 100% barrier to spreading the virus. As long as fake tests remains a small part of a testing program, it may be manageable. But what about when fake testing becomes widespread?
95% of passengers on a single flight used an identical test in order to travel, with more than 190 of 200 passengers on the November 25, 2020 Pegas Fly flight EO429 from Moscow to Zhengzhou presenting photoshopped negative results.
China’s embassy in Moscow checked documentation for passengers prior to the flight’s departure and rejected travel. Pegas Fly cancelled the flight, since they were going to be permitted to carry fewer than 10 of their passengers. According to the embassy, “There’s no way to guarantee the accuracy of these tests and as a result the passengers were unable to receive a ‘health code’ to board the plane.”
Neither the Krasnoyarsk-based Ikar Airlines, which operates as Pegas Fly, nor the organization that conducted the test “could provide a reasonable explanation for the exact same test results,” the Chinese Embassy said. It asked the airline to arrange for new tests and to accommodate the stranded passengers.
Faked tests don’t mean that a passenger had the virus, it may mean it was hard to get tested. You’d expect someone shedding the virus wouldn’t travel, and would self-quarantine, but people are selfish and unreasonable – as evidenced by the couple arrested for flying home to Hawaii when they knew they were positive with the virus.
(HT: Your Mileage May Vary)