Across the globe, as coronavirus cases continue to rise, a new opponent has appeared in the fight to slow the spread: There’s a black market for clean tests so that people can circumvent the restrictions.
The COVID-19 fatigue, as many call it, comes with a desperation to leave home and travel—you know, like we all did as recently as nine months ago. However, in many parts of the world, countries won’t allow travelers unless those people can produce a negative coronavirus test.
As a result, fraudulent coronavirus tests have been seen in England, France and Brazil, but success has been stunted because of the high-quality protocols in place, according to a report from the Washington Post. The Post reported that Hawaii requires visitors to use an approved testing partner, register with the state’s testing program and upload results online.
In France last week, officials exposed what appears to be a forgery ring selling the counterfeit tests at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. According to the Associated Press, the group was asking $180 to $360 for the digital certificates of a negative result. The penalty can be as severe as five years in prison if convicted.
In England, a man said he went to Pakistan and gained entry by using a friend’s negative COVID test and changing his name. “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,” the man, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Lancashire Telegraph. “You download the email, change it and then print it.”
On Wednesday in the U.S., new infections hit 144,133, exceeding 100,000 for a ninth consecutive day. Seven states reported record death tolls, and the seven-day total is 7,844, the worst since August.