Two people have been lumped with a hefty fine after traveling from the US to Canada using forged vaccine certificates and fake COVID-19 test results.
The Public Health Agency of Canada says the two passengers arrived in Toronto from the US the week of July 18, 2021. Upon realizing the travelers provided false information related to proof of vaccination credentials and pre-departure tests, officials were forced to slap both travelers with four fines — totaling a fairly unpleasant $19,720 each.
The two people were attempting to take advantage of the new rules, implemented in early July 2021, that allowed eased quarantine and testing requirements for fully vaccinated travelers to enter Canada. On August 9, the Canadian border will become open again to fully vaccinated Americans after a nearly 17-month closure.
For now, if you’re not fully vaccinated, you must quarantine for a minimum of 14 days after arriving in Canada, including a mandatory three-night stay at a government-authorized hotel at your own cost. Travelers must also provide a negative COVID-19 test before their flight’s departure, after their flight’s arrival, and eight days later into their quarantine period.
As far as Canadian quarantine breakers go, however, these two got off relatively easy. The PHAC also notes that people who commit more serious offenses can be jailed for up to six months and receive up to $750,000 in fines under the Quarantine Act.
In the UK, breaking quarantine rules after traveling from certain countries can land you with a £10,000 (~$13,890) fine. Things are a little more complicated in the US as rules and regulations appear to differ from state to state.
New Zealand has arguably had one of the most successful responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, not least because of its strict border control and lockdowns. According to data from New Zealand’s Ministry of Justice, cited by the Guardian in April 2021, a total of 640 people were charged with COVID-19 related offenses and more than 460 of those were convicted. Almost 20 percent of those convicted, 85 people, were sent to prison.
Pretty much from the moment COVID-19 vaccines started to become available, a market for forged certificates emerged. A number of reports have highlighted that dark web vendors are selling forged documents, including faked negative COVID-19 test papers and counterfeit vaccine certificates, for around $150. However, as these two travelers recently discovered, those fake documents could end up costing you a lot more.