It has only been a single day since lockdown measures eased in England and Wales, but plans to ease restrictions are already threatened. UK border guards are preparing for a wave of travelers wielding fake coronavirus vaccine passports claiming to have been bumped into the deadly respiratory disease.
Ahead of the restart of international travel on May 17, 2021, the Border Force Union (ISU) set off the alarm bells about travelers with fake vaccination passports coming to the UK – and about the risk they will pose. It could potentially open the door to a foreign variant of Covid-19, like the one discovered in South Africa, making its way into the UK.
Lucy Moreton, a professional officer at ISU, told i that it was “impossible” to use forged documents to prevent people entering and leaving the UK from having the holder vaccinated if a global standard for Vaccination records will not be agreed soon.
Fraudulent vaccine passports are already being sold online, and without an agreed standard for the documents it is currently difficult to determine which ones are real – and which ones were bought on the dark web to avoid restrictions and vaccinations.
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The UK government’s coronavirus roadmap has reached a pivotal stage this week. Unnecessary retail stores, hairdressers and gyms reopened on Monday, April 12th. Restaurants and pubs were allowed to open their doors and serve customers outdoors. The change in restrictions, which is currently limited to England and Wales, is due to the fact that infection rates continue to fall.
The biggest date on the government’s roadmap looming on the horizon is June 21 – when all coronavirus restrictions could end. However, the government has stressed that this depends on the achievement of the goals.
When ISU Envoy Moreton spoke about how fake vaccine documents could threaten life in the UK, which is returning to normal this summer, he said, “One of the problems with the Covid test certificates is that there is no recognized international standard. Go, “Yes, that’s a real one,” and let the passenger through.
“If there is no international standard for vaccination records, we will have the same problem. People will slip through the loopholes even if there is a globally recognized vaccination certificate, but far more if there are many different ones. We are already seeing fakes of the little cards given to you after you get the vaccine. They’re not difficult to copy and put your name on. “
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Moreton’s comments came shortly after the BBC reported that Covid-19 vaccines, vaccination records, and fake negative test papers were being sold on the dark web. Fake vaccine certificates were sold for $ 150, while alleged doses of the vaccines from AstraZeneca, Sputnik, Sinopharm or Johnson & Johnson sold for up to $ 750.
Check Point researchers have been analyzing the dark web since January when advertisements for vaccines first appeared.
Since then, security experts have seen this type of advertisement tripled to over 1,200. One such ad said, “We’re doing negative Covid tests for travelers traveling overseas to get a job, etc. Buy two negative tests and get the third free!”
Speaking of ISU’s concerns, a Home Office spokesman said: “We are enforcing strict health measures at the border for the small minority of people who come to the UK for legitimate reasons. Pre-departure testing is being carried out to protect health through the provision of forged documents Not only is the UK public breaking the law, it could endanger the UK’s recovery from the pandemic.
“Border guards have the right to refuse entry to any visitor who they believe has traveled to the UK to engage in activities that are not permitted under current local health restrictions, such as holidays or tourism, or the Don’t isolate yourself and test requirements.
“Since January 2021, we have suspended all decisions on visitor visas for applicants who apply from a country on the Red List or in which an applicant has visited one of these countries in the last ten days.”