Unreasonable Rules Fueled a Black Market in Negative COVID-19 Test Results
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many governments have implemented policies intended to minimize the risk of infection, but which impose very real costs on people on the receiving end. In the case of COVID testing policies, requirements have frequently been implemented before the means to easily satisfy that they exist. So, it’s no surprise that a black market in negative test results has developed for travelers concerned that they’ll be stopped at a border or stranded in-transit if they can’t produce sometimes difficult-to-source health documents on demand.
Once again, for those who haven’t paid attention in the past: people will find ways to bypass the rules if governments impose mandates that seem excessive or difficult to obey.
The black market has emerged as many countries require recent negative COVID test-results before permitting entry—sometimes more recent than is easily available.
“It is difficult to get one unless you are a key worker,” one British man who wanted to visit Pakistan, which requires tests within 96 hours of the travel date, told the Lancashire Telegraph. As a result, he said, it has become common practice to alter somebody else’s documents.
“It is quite simple. Everyone knows someone who has had a Covid test,” he added. “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.”
In other cases, travelers find that there are illegal vendors prepared to sell negative results to buyers who need documentation.
“Officials in France said Friday that seven people have been arrested for selling false certificates of negative coronavirus tests to travelers at Paris’s largest airport, Charles de Gaulle,” the Associated Press reported earlier this month. “The Bobigny prosecutor’s office said the faked certificates were being sold to travelers for 150 to 300 euros ($180 to $360).”
Some travel agents allegedly offer fake COVID test results among the services they provide their customers now. That an industry struggling to survive
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