Feb 18, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – The government is currently investigating reports of fake COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) COVID-19 test results being used by persons entering Guyana.
This was revealed by the Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, while delivering the COVID-19 update yesterday. The Minister said, however, that specific reports have not been received of persons attempting to leave the country with fake results. “We have had some reports not so much of people going out but we’ve had reports of people coming in where they were forging their PCR results. Because remember, we require PCR to come into Guyana,” Dr. Anthony disclosed. The Health Minister did not disclose which countries the reports came from.
Last year, as airports reopened to international traffic, the government established strict measures for incoming passengers, which included them being mandated to produce a negative PCR test before entering Guyana. The incoming passengers would take the test in their country of origin, which is the country they are currently in, at least seven days before their scheduled flight and are required to produce those results when boarding it. If the results exceed a week, those persons cannot board the flight.
Another established measure was that persons who produce negative PCR test results exceeding 72 hours will be required to take another test when they arrive in Guyana, which is usually conducted by the Eureka Medical Laboratories Incorporated at a cost of $25,000.
According to the Health Minister, the government has alerted the airport authorities of the respective countries. He said that, “this is something that we have heard of and we would like them to be extra vigilant.”
The government has also alerted airlines that are bringing in passengers from these destinations to Guyana. “So we have done some of that work to heighten the vigilance in terms of coming in, but here going out, I have not had any specific cases,” he added.
Notably, the sale of fake negative COVID-19 test results in the United Kingdom was highlighted by the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol). See link for full report: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/02/01/fake-covid-tests-criminals-try-to-profit-from-travel-restrictions.html.
According to the Europol, persons have been seeking to profit from the travel restrictions imposed by the pandemic. The law enforcement agency reported an increase in fraudulent COVID-19 test being sold to travellers. “It comes as an increasing number of countries in the European Union and beyond oblige travellers to present a negative coronavirus test in order to be allowed entry, when travelling from a high-risk area,” the CNBC report noted.
A warning was issued to European Union member states and noted that the latest case of this crime had been detected at the Luton Airport in the UK where a man was arrested trying to sell fake COVID-19 tests results. It was also noted that elsewhere in the UK, persons were caught selling the fraudulent documents for 100 pounds/US$137.
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