[COVIDWatch]: Are Indian nationals using faked COVID tests to enter Singapore?

By April 29, 2021 COVID-19, Health

We came across this post on Facebook:

The sentence structure is questionable, but from what we can make out, the author of the post claims that there are “many Indians” who are using “false covid test [reports]” in a bid to travel to Singapore, but still end up being caught here.

Comments on the post and the Facebook groups that it was shared on also reveal disparaging remarks about individuals from India:

Currently, India is seeing a new wave of infections which is bringing its health system to breaking point, so much that countries including Germany, Britain, the US and Singapore have pledged to send medical aid. On 26 April, the number of infections was over 350,000, and 2,812 more deaths were reported. There are currently over 17.3 million cases of infection in India, just behind over 32.2 million cases in the US. On 27 April, the World Health Organization said that a variant of COVID-19 (called B1617) feared to be contributing to the surge in cases in India has been found in “at least 17 countries”, and “most sequences were uploaded from India, the United Kingdom, USA and Singapore”.

In response to the situation in India, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced on 22 April that all long-term pass holders and short-term visitors with recent travel history to India (including visitors who transit in India, and all who had obtained prior approval for entry into Singapore) within the last 14 days will not be allowed entry into Singapore from 24 April. Then, it was also revealed that Singapore had seen 46 imported cases of the aforementioned B1617 variant.

Given the context, there is an insinuation that individuals from India are purposely putting people in Singapore at risk by attempting to enter the country with faked COVID-19 test results.

What measures are put in place for travellers to Singapore from India?

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ public health advisory for India, travellers from India who are not Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents and who have recent travel history to India within the last 14 days prior to entry will be required to take a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test within 72 hours before departure. They would also need to present a valid negative COVID-19 test result as part of pre-boarding checks to enter Singapore, and those without the necessary PCR test memo will be denied entry into Singapore.

On top of this, travellers would be required to do a 14-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN) at dedicated SHN facilities and produce a negative COVID-19 test before the end of their SHN.

On 23 September last year, MOH announced that all COVID-19 pre-departure test results “must come from recognised labs which are internationally accredited or endorsed by the Indian government”. This was because faked test results were becoming increasingly common in India, and there were reports of agents and doctors taking bribes to produce them. According to an article on Quartz India, a fake negative report from a pathological lab costs around Rs2,000 (S$35.60).

Warned MOH then: “Travellers found without the required valid documents will be refused entry into Singapore. We will not hesitate to take action against those who present forged documents to seek entry into Singapore, including barring them from entry to Singapore in the future.”

However, there have been no reports of such cases, making the claim that these individuals were caught in Singapore false.

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