Travellers are able to use “fake” Covid-19 certificates in order to board flights to countries that require passengers to present evidence of a negative test result.
According to the Lancashire Telegraph, it has seen evidence of passengers using another person’s negative PCR test result and doctoring the name and date to match their own.
The publication saw this method used by those travelling from the UK to Pakistan, which has required all international arrivals to present a negative test result as of 5 October.
One unnamed man from Blackburn described how he was able to forge a certificate for a recent flight to Pakistan by using his friend’s results.
“It is quite simple. Everyone knows someone who has had a Covid test,” he said.
“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.
“You download the email, change it and then print it.”
He said the reason people were faking certificates was because it was difficult to get a Covid-19 test at the last-minute for those who are not key workers.
Another reason could be cost; those requiring a PCR test for travel are required to get one privately, which costs around £150, rather than through the NHS.
“You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country,” states the Foreign Office’s advice. “You should arrange to take a private test.”
Shabaz Ilyas, whose parents urgently had to fly to Pakistan when his uncle fell ill, told the Lancashire Telegraph the prices of private tests were “extortionate” and called on the government to intervene to stop travellers being exploited.
Claims have also been made that certain travel agencies are offering passengers fake Covid-free certificates for a fee, with one traveller alleging: “We needed a Covid-19 test for a family member and I spoke to one travel agent and he said, ‘Get it done and even if it comes out positive we will provide a negative one for you for £50’.”
The Independent has contacted the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for comment.