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5 Dec, 2020 16:20

Russian authorities to investigate after forged negative Covid-19 test certificates found on sale for just $33 each

Russian authorities to investigate after forged negative Covid-19 test certificates found on sale for just $33 each

A criminal case has been opened in Russia after mass forgeries of negative Covid-19 test certificates were discovered. The documents were found to be on sale online for 2,500 rubles ($33) each.

The Moscow City Prosecutors Office has reported that a criminal investigation is underway to discover who is behind the forgeries. The case comes after a complaint by medical laboratory company Gemotest, which reported that it had appealed to law enforcement after discovering that its certificates were being faked. Alongside the police, Gemotest conducted controlled purchases of the forgeries, leading to the couriers being questioned.

The company first became aware of the fakes in April, leading to the lab deciding to issue unique QR codes alongside their results, as a means of verification. A negative test is most commonly needed for traveling abroad, going back to work after self-isolation, and registering at a medical facility for inpatient treatment.

On Thursday, the All-Russian Popular Front political coalition asked the prosecutor general's office to investigate the sale of fake certificates, after the Putin-founded movement found out that it was possible to buy fakes in a quarter of all Russian regions, including Moscow and St. Petersburg.

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”Fake certificates pose a threat not only to the lives of citizens who buy them, but to the entire society,” said Yulia Belekhova, the faction's leader in the Moscow Region. “Any crime – in this case, fraud on the health of people – should be punished.”

Russia is currently experiencing a surge in Covid-19 numbers, and on Saturday confirmed a record high of 28,782 detected cases. With over two million detected infections, the country has the fourth most cases in the world, behind the US, India and Brazil.

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