• Gallery Staff

Visitors using fake virus results for entry

Health officials are now confirming reports that visitors have tried to enter The Bahamas with fake COVID-19 test results.

The Gallery had been following up on these reports, which have been circulating on social media, but until now had been unable to get confirmation from authorities.

Reports began reaching our news desk last week as new cases of COVID-19 were being revealed on Grand Bahama. Our sources at the time suggested that a pair of boaters who landed at a resort at the western end of the island used fake test results to falsify their entry documents and that they had tested positive for the virus. There were also reports at the time that visitors were moving about in the community not wearing masks and not adhering to other established COVID-19 protocols.

The Gallery was unable to verify those claims at the time they were made, but health officials, in their latest televised press conference, noted that the fraud-related occurrences are happening.

Health consultant in the Office of the Prime Minister and coordinator of the government’s COVID-19 task-force, Dr. Merceline Dahl-Regis, could not say how many people have falsified their “documents” to enter the country since the borders were reopened on July 1, but she said that “government officials are on high alert for cases of suspected forgery, tampering or altering of required documents and are prepared to take action if necessary.”

The borders of The Bahamas have been opened for just over a month now to boaters – since June 15th – as Tourism officials sought to ‘test the waters’ ahead of the July 1st wider reopening.

Head of the Grand Bahama COVID-19 Task Force Dr. Frank Bartlett said health officials are very concerned and are looking at ways to prevent or at the very least, minimize this sort of thing from happening. When asked how travellers were forging the COVID-19 tests, he said, “whenever you have rules in place, you are always going to find parties trying to circumvent it.”

A police investigation has reportedly been launched into the matter.

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