Passengers 'use fake negative Covid test certificates'

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.

Many airlines now require proof of a negative Covid-19 test before travellers are permitted to board a plane to certain countries.

An online travel agent has been offering fake Covid 19 test results to allow passengers to fly to Pakistan, file photograph Some airports such as Heathrow are offering passengers the chance to take a Covid-19 tests before boarding their aircraft to encourage people to travel safely Some private clinics are charging up to £150 for a Covid-19 test which will allow people to fly

To keep NHS Covid tests clear for those with greater clinical need or for NHS workers, travellers must arrange a private test, costing up to £150.

From October 5, all international travellers to Pakistan were required to present evidence of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 96 hours of the start of travel.

According to the Lancashire Telegraph, one 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.

The man, who did not wish to be named, said: 'It is quite simple. Everyone knows someone who has had a Covid test.

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'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.

'People are doing this as you can't get a Covid test if you have to travel to Pakistan in case of an emergency. It is difficult to get one unless you are a key worker.

'If you put down you have symptoms then you don't get the test. How can you travel then?'

The Covid-19 certificate is handed in at check-in but only for those countries which are requesting a test note.

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.

Another traveller said: '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".'

Official government advice states: 'Some airlines require passengers to have recent Covid-19 test results in order to fly. You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test. Contact your travel company for the latest information.'

Airlines flying to Pakistan were contacted for comment as was the Civil Aviation Authority.

Shabaz Ilyas, whose parents had to go back home to Pakistan because his uncle was seriously ill, was told he needed a negative Covid-19 test before he could fly.

He paid to have a legitimate test done just in time.

He said: 'Obviously, it's not ideal travelling whilst we have a pandemic, but needs must. Then I found out the airlines were demanding a PCR test certificate before allowing passengers on the flight.

'It turns out the NHS Covid-19 test for many of the airlines was inadequate and we needed to go through a private clinic which was offering these tests. I was astounded to find out they were charging £150 per person.

'This is in addition to the extortionate prices the airlines are already charging. I thought competition was supposed to drive prices down, but for long-haul flights, the prices seem to be going up.

'As usual, a mini industry has been created to exploit people. This is just another example of discriminating against the poor, who are already facing financial problems.

'The Government should prevent these private clinics from charging extortionate prices and ideally the NHS and the airlines should be working in conjunction in providing the appropriate tests.'

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