Counterfeit COVID test results—not our proudest moment
Counterfeit COVID test results—not our proudest moment
13 NOVEMBER 2020 8:21 AM

Tourists are buying forged COVID-19 test results to enter foreign countries, a perfect foil to those who have given up so much to try to slow the spread of the virus.

When people make a sacrifice, they want it to mean something.

By its nature, an actual sacrifice gives up something of value in hopes that it will lead to a greater benefit.

We have all made sacrifices over the last nine months, hoping that our efforts will slow the spread of COVID-19 so that we do not overwhelm hospitals and increase the lethality of the virus.

Those who have taken this pandemic seriously have given up a great deal. They no longer go about their days as freely as they used to. They wear masks when they go out of their homes, and they avoid going out when it’s not necessary. They find alternative ways to entertain themselves or keep busy.

Couples have postponed weddings and honeymoons. Many high school graduates did not have the opportunity to walk across the stage and receive their diplomas in front of their proud families. Fans of professional sports teams could not attend their favorite teams’ games.

I recently saw an online post from a woman who said she had to cancel her Thanksgiving plans with family because of the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases. In the past year, she had a baby whom her parents have yet to meet.

I cannot even begin to describe the toll taken on health care workers.

These are only a few examples of the sacrifices made by those who take this pandemic seriously. Though they do so with great difficulty, they do this because they believe it will be worth it, that their actions will help save lives.

Yesterday, I read a story in The Washington Post about tourists who are buying forged COVID-19 test results to enter countries that require a negative test result.

“With global coronavirus cases rising, many countries are now requiring negative coronavirus test results for entry, but getting a test in time can be difficult for travelers,” the article states.

“So it may have been only a matter of time before a black-market option emerged: counterfeit test results. The practice of forging or purchasing fake results has surfaced in destinations around the world, with instances of manipulated negatives in Brazil, France and the United Kingdom.”

The selfishness, the thoughtlessness of this act absolutely astounds and depresses me.

Travel is a wonderful thing. It opens us up to new locations, people and experiences. It widens our perspective and helps us better appreciate both how big and how small our planet is.

But it’s not worth this. There have been too many instances of a country or region with few or no cases where cases increase again because of a COVID-positive traveler. No, not every person using a counterfeit test result has the virus, but unless they’re caught and stopped, we won’t know how many do, and that’s the major problem.

The hotel industry is struggling, there’s no argument there, but the industry needs honest travelers who are taking every precaution so that when they arrive at a hotel, they aren’t bringing the virus with them, putting other guests and staff at risk.

Will tourists buying faked test results be the cause of an even bigger surge? No, but it’s that mentality that will continue spreading the coronavirus and overwhelming our health care facilities and medical professionals until a vaccine becomes widely available to the general public, hopefully as soon as sometime next year.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, or reach out to me at or @HNN_Bryan.

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