At least 50 fake Covid-19 tests discovered at Beitbridge border crossing

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South African National Defence Force soldiers patrol the border fence that separates South Africa and Zimbabwe near the Beitbridge border post, near Musina.
South African National Defence Force soldiers patrol the border fence that separates South Africa and Zimbabwe near the Beitbridge border post, near Musina.
Phill Magakoe
  • At least 50 travellers from Zimbabwe have been found in possession of fake Covid-19 test results.
  • A negative Covid-19 test is required for entry into South Africa.
  • The fake test results were discovered when health officials questioned travellers about the details of the tests.

At least 50 fake Covid-19 tests were discovered by officials at the Beitbridge border crossing this weekend.

Limpopo Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba confirmed fake tests, showing a negative Covid-19 result, were being sold to those attempting to enter South Africa at Beitbridge.

This as the Department of Health enforces regulations requiring anyone entering the country to produce a negative test, taken no more than 72 hours prior to a border crossing.

On 25 December, the department suspended screening at the Beitbridge border crossing between South Africa and Zimbabwe to ease congestion. It was reported the antigen testing requirement, which the department introduced through amended health directions, was slowing down processes at the border.

READ | 4 truck drivers have died while queuing at the Beitbridge border post - RFA

However, Ramathuba said the authorities would not be dispensing with testing as travellers returned from Zimbabwe, adding around 70 positive cases had already been recorded at mobile testing sites at the border.

"Everyone re-entering South Africa must have a Covid-19 test results.

"We're finding that people buy test results. It's very clear that they are fake [test results] - they have contact numbers that do not exist or are created on letterheads copied from pathology labs," she added.

According to TimesLive, the tests were being supplied by syndicates.

The discrepancy was first picked up when health officials questioned travellers on how the Covid-19 tests were carried out, said Ramathuba.

They said travellers had told them the test had been carried out with a blood sample, instead of a nasal swab.

"Anyone who has taken a Covid-19 test will know it's very uncomfortable to have a nasal swab. But we found people were saying they had had their fingers pricked for the test, as if it were an HIV test," she added.

Ramathuba said the tests were sold for an estimated US$50.

"People are paying a lot of money. They are desperate to get into South Africa."

She added 17 fake test results were discovered on Friday, with a further 30 on Saturday.

Following a visit to the border on Sunday, Ramathuba said at least 50 fake documents had been discovered over the weekend.

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