Health officials have the right to reject fake Covid-19 certificates, Motsoaledi warns travellers

Home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi says his department is aware of people producing fake Covid-19 certificates.
Home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi says his department is aware of people producing fake Covid-19 certificates.
Image: SANDILE NDLOVU

Minister of home affairs Aaron Motsoaledi says the health department has been alerted to fake Covid-19 certificates being produced at ports of entry for international travel.

Speaking on 702, Motsoaledi said the certificates include fake negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results, which travellers must produce before departure.

Motsoaledi said the department was also aware of people selling these fake certificates to desperate travellers.

“We are aware of this forgery, we know people do it. Health officials, in SA and other countries, have been alerted to accept only certificates from accredited laboratories. If they get a certificate from a company that is not accredited or acknowledgeable, they've got the right to reject it,” he said.

While visiting home affairs offices in Pretoria on Monday to assess Covid-19 compliance, according to an SABC report, Motsoaledi said travellers who arrive in SA with doubtful certificates will be offered an antigen Covid-19 test.

“If you don’t have the 72-hours test certificate, you can be tested here and then. It’s a rapid test. It takes about 15 minutes. But we are not going to easily allow anybody just to come into the country without a Covid-19 certificate,” he said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US, antigen Covid-19 tests, also known as the diagnostic tests, have a rapid turnaround time, which is critical to identify severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and rapid implementation of infection prevention and control strategies.

The tests can also augment other testing efforts, especially in settings where the PCR testing capacity is limited or testing results are delayed.

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