The Indian authorities have recently uncovered instances of fake COVID-19 medical certificates surfacing in India.
Earlier this month (4 Sep), a Delhi-based doctor, Dr Kush Parashar, and his aide were arrested for issuing fake COVID-19 certificates (‘Delhi: Doctor held for issuing fake Covid-19 certificates‘).
After collecting swab samples from suspected COVID-19 patients or people seeking the COVID-19 tests for employment or travel reasons, the doctor would discard their samples and issue them fake test results in the names of at least three diagnostic laboratories, certifying that they are COVID-19 free.
The doctor and his aide have issued at least 75 of such fake COVID-19 certificates, charging people who came for the test Rs2,400 (S$44) each.
“Their cover was blown, when one of the recipients of the test results found a mismatch in his name and contacted the diagnostic centre to learn that the latter didn’t issue any such result,” Delhi Police told the media. It was the diagnostic centre which reported the matter to the police.
Dr Parashar is said to have a postgraduate degree in medicine from Russia.
Indian government hospital also involved
Not only a private clinic was found to been involved in issuing fake COVID-19 certificates, a government public hospital in the Indian State of Uttarakhand was also involved.
Last Wed (16 Sep), news emerged that a government hospital in Uttarakhand had allegedly issued Out-Patient Department (OPD) slips to people, certifying that they are free of COVID-19 (‘Uttarakhand Hospital Issues Fake Covid-Free Certificates, Probe Ordered‘).
It did so without conducting any COVID-19 tests, prompting the state government to launch an inquiry into the matter. Many of such fake certificates were issued to migrant workers who wanted to go to other districts in search of work.
The matter came to light when a government doctor was caught issuing the fake COVID-19 certificates for money.
When contacted Uttarakhand Chief Secretary said a detailed enquiry is being ordered into the matter. The probe will seek to find out for how long the racket was going on at the hospital and how many doctors were involved in it, the Chief Secretary said.
Fake COVID-19 certificates circulating in State of Kerala
In another Indian State of Kerala, the state’s Health Minister K.K. Shylaja warned today that actions will be taken to deal with the issuance of fake COVID-19 certificates (‘Issue of fake COVID certificates: Minister warns of action‘, 21 Sep).
She said that stringent action will be taken against those involved in the distribution of fake COVID-19 test certificates.
The Kerala state authorities has recently unearthed the circulation of forged COVID-19 documents, which were made to appear as those issued by the Pozhiyoor primary health centre (PHC). The seal of the PHC on the fake certificates was found to have been forged.
The fake certificates were allegedly sold to fishermen at rates ranging from Rs2,000 to 3,000 (S$37 to 55) in order for them to fish in other places such as Neendakara, Kochi and Beypore.
Condemning the act, Shylaja cautioned that such illegal activities would lead to the uncontrolled spread of the infection. The Pozhiyoor police had been directed to probe the incident and book those responsible under the Kerala Epidemic Diseases Ordinance 2020, she said.
Travellers from India need to take COVID-19 tests before arriving in Singapore
According to a press statement from the Singapore’s Health Ministry (MOH) on 9 Sep, it said that MOH has been “closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation in India”.
MOH added that travellers from India, who are not Singaporeans or PRs, will be required to take a COVID-19 test within 72 hours before departure.
“Travellers will need to present a valid negative COVID-19 test result as a condition of approval to enter Singapore. This requirement will take effect for those arriving in Singapore from 17 September 2020, 0000 hours, and will apply on top of the existing requirements of a 14-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN) at dedicated SHN facilities and a negative COVID-19 test before the end of their SHN,” MOH said.
However, given the emergence of fake COVID-19 certificates in India, it’s not known if MOH has encountered any of such certificates from those travellers entering Singapore.