Countries are opening up to travel, but in many cases only where they can assure themselves the likelihood someone entering doesn’t have Covid-19. Some do testing on arrival. Others require tests prior to departure. Eventually we’ll likely see vaccination certificates as a condition of entry as well.
But what if people are faking their negative Covid tests where a predeparture test is required? Apparently at least one travel agency is selling faked negative tests to passengers heading to Pakistan. And some people are just photoshopping negative test results received by others.
- It seems almost unthinkable to me that a travel agency would be selling faked test results
- Or that someone actually positive would travel
- Yet it’s almost inevitable that someone would think only about their own aims during a pandemic
- Even if the practice not only represents a health threat to others, but undermines the regimes under which countries are opening to travel.
Some travellers are using fake negative Covid-19 test ‘certificates’ so they can board flights to Pakistan, it has emerged.
People are able to doctor the name on negative test emails, print them out and hand them to check-in staff at UK airports.
..[O]ne Blackburn man said he was handed a negative test by a friend and then changed the name to his and printed it out. He was able to travel to Pakistan with what was a fake Covid-19 test certificate.
…Those wanting fake certificates can also pay for the service. The Lancashire Telegraph has learned in Bradford some people are charging £150 for a fake certificate for last-minute travellers while in Blackburn the charge was £50.
If countries can’t verify the tests being presented to them, and test results are being faked, it’s less likely for countries to open up based on a negative test. That’s bad for the entire world.
And of all the places to fake negative tests for, travel to Pakistan? Pakistan departures have been a source of Covid-positive passengers across numerous destinations, though of course Pakistan hasn’t been hit nearly as hard with the virus as neighboring India (though harder than official statistics suggest).
Of course the cost, time, and risk of not getting results quickly enough makes the process for even someone without the virus cumbersome enough that ‘shortcuts’ are going to appeal to some.
If the practice becomes widespread enough, that’ll be a real problem for travel. As long as it remains limited, countries accept a certain amount of covid-positive cases when they open up even with testing. Someone might test negative three days before travel but be shedding virus on arrival. Or they may present a false negative.
Ultimately regions facing widespread community transmission – like the United States – aren’t materially worse off with incremental travelers positive with the virus. It doesn’t change the direction of how they experience the pandemic.
Which is why it’s silly that the U.S. continues to ban travelers who have been to China in the past 14 days under most circumstances (where there’s far less spread than there is here) and won’t even permit those who have been in China to enter with a negative Covid test.
(HT: Tommy L.)