Passengers Are Faking Negative Covid Tests In Order To Travel

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.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. One can imagine this becoming commonplace in the centres of fakery and trickery, like China, Thailand, India, Pakistan. It’s part of the culture. That’s why certified negative tests or immunity’passports’ will never be acceptable.
    Those caught ‘trying it on’ should be charged with making a false declaration , endangerment, etc. Throw the bastards in prison!

  2. If airlines will ask for stupid documents, then the rational response is to fake it.

    This is exactly why I took a negative test, to have a real result with me now, which I can change the date on for any future travel no issues

  3. Its probably not about people being positive and traveling ..

    More like people cant the results in xx hours before the departure, so this is much easier.

  4. So sad that people have to go to the trouble of faking a test to be able to travel. Although I’m not travelling out of Australia at the moment, I have been enjoying exploring my own state and capturing some amazing footage I might not have had the chance to see.

  5. Hehehe, the market always finds a solution to the ridiculousness of government edict. At least it’s better than being falsely quarantined due to the overwhelming probability of a false positive test.

  6. Who cares? It’s health security theater for the world.

    Good for them for finding a way around the worst governmental decisions in our lifetime.

    It’s time for people to Fight Back.
    Take our world back from politicians.

  7. Simple enough – just make faking a test a criminal violation with substantial fines and several months in jail being the minimum for passengers. For companies doing this repeatedly, turn the jail sentence into prison time for all involved with much larger fines for the companies and the people issuing the fakes. Some idiots will still try it but if the penalties are steep enough and are fully enforced then it just won’t be worthwhile for the vast majority of fliers. While it’s sad to have to enact such heavy penalties, without them the infected who simply don’t care about other people will simply endanger everyone else.

  8. Interesting topic, but Pakistan? How many of your readers care about travel to Pakistan? More relevant would be New York, where I think the citizens of about 40 states are currently required to quarantine upon arrival This is insane, both scientifically and logistically, but it’s the law. I’m sure not everyone is complying. You also have a bunch of New England states requiring quarantine or a negative Covid test immediately before arrival for most US citizens, all of which seems to be on the “honor system.” I’m sure compliance is poor, since compliance is entirely unreasonable. Stupid laws that aren’t enforceable undermine the rule of law and create great inconvenience to those who would normally choose to be law-abiding.

  9. Why should everyday citizens comply when politicians don’t?

    No thanks. Bring on the forgeries!

  10. “won’t even permit those who have been in China to enter with a negative Covid test”

    What? Since when?

  11. “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”

    This ban is purely politically motivated, so show that the administration is still “tough on China”. In reality, there are probably about the same number of daily new cases in China as there is in the White House.

  12. I have an Abbott IDNow testing machine – paid for it and then Abbott never sent me testing kits! Paid $10,000 and I’m being held hostage as they refuse to respond with any viable option. I have nursing homes and schools depending on me for help – Abbott should refund my moneyor be held accountable. David vs. Goliath here. Any help getting some test regents would be appreciated.

  13. Luis-Have you tried places like eBay and Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist? I mean, you’d REALLY be surprised at some of the things they sell on those places…Put a listing of “looking for” and you will probably be surprised at what happens, I’ve ran across things I didn’t even think they could sell to the public…there’s always someone in the system willing to side=-step the system for a buck, doesn’t hurt to try. If all else fails, try Rachel Maddow…

  14. A podcast I was listening to with hosts from the NY NJ area said you can self test yourself and not even stick the thing up your nose all the way if you want and easily fake it.

    Don’t think it’s just other countries

  15. I guess all of you who are ok with this are ok with fake vaccines also. What the hell, if you you can get away with it, go for it! Not!!!!

  16. International travel won’t open up significantly unless mandatory testing is required at the airport. Time and money will be cost of doing business.

  17. I suggest you close the Comment option for this post and delete the existing ones advocating ignoring testing requirements. Spreading that idea will lead to misery and deaths m

  18. One good fake (plandemic) deserves another in my opinion,of course that’s what this commentary is about right ?everybody’s opinion, or do some people’s opinion not count as an opinion?

  19. “Why should everyday citizens comply when politicians don’t?” More like why should anyone comply when CNN’s Chris Cuomo got caught leaving quarantine and later busted for not wearing a mask in his building. Aren’t the little Democrat monkeys supposed to follow the example of the big Democrat apes?

  20. Until the idiot in power starts promoting masks, and preventive measures, this problem will keep getting worse, as it has been. Just look at his super-spreader rallies.

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