Drug smuggling, human trafficking, not declaring agricultural or food products; air travel is never short of passengers trying to bypass federal and state laws for their own personal gain.
But the latest dodgy dealings have come in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic, which has seen some desperate holidaymakers paying for counterfeit negative Covid-19 test results to allow them to enter countries where providing a test result has become commonplace.
As news.com.au reports (citing the Washington Post), fraudulent test results have recently surfaced in Brazil, France and the UK, although it’s expected counterfeit tests have been (and will be) presented in other countries.
The Associated Press adds that a seven-strong group of Covid con-artists were arrested at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, France for selling doctored negative test results – created at a medical lab in Paris – for between $245-$492 to passengers who were entering France without their own test to hand.
While four people: two men and two women, were arrested in Brazil for providing false Covid test results, proving it’s not just the dealers being caught, but tourists too. They were eventually charged with falsifying documents, using falsified documents and criminal association
Several tourism-dependent countries have implemented the strategy to require at least one negative test result. In some cases, such as with private Fijian island Laucala – which is allowing rich Americans the chance to hire the island for their own private endeavours – requires three negative tests, the most recent of which needs to be presented before boarding.
Airlines are taking it upon themselves to help authorities crack down on coronavirus counterfeiters, such as releasing apps that will allow passengers to upload their genuine negative test results before being verified (we’re assuming results will be verified for validity by medical professionals).
Etihad has even gone to the lengths of implementing a ‘call out’ service that will see a medical professional go to a passenger’s house, test them and deliver the results before they leave for the airport.
Of course, the sanest advice anyone could give someone wanting to travel yet unable to obtain a negative test result is to not travel. We understand people are desperate to leave the confines of their home and to escape lockdown laws, but seriously – are you joking?
Keep calm and stay at home. Your holiday tan can wait.