The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has over the weekend revealed strong moves to track fake COVID-19 Vaccination Cards/Certificates being circulated in multiple countries including Sierra Leone.
The Association said Airlines are currently battling a scourge of passengers traveling with falsified Covid-19 health certificates, documents often required after Covid-19 test results by many countries on arrival.
As in Sierra Leone where police have arrested and are currently investigating some NaCOVERC staff caught by the Scorpion Squad of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), selling fake COVID-19 Vaccination Cards to residents, international border control authorities and police forces have also reported arrests of people selling the same documents.
The problem is hitting international flights more than domestic ones, which typically did not require certification at the moment.
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Airlines that are more dependent on cross-border travel, particularly those operating in Europe, are growing increasingly alarmed as they look to the summer, when they still hope demand will start to return.
The proliferation of fake health certificates is exposing a logistical blind spot, as airlines rush to navigate post-pandemic travel standards and retool their systems to ease compliance—and spur demand.
Airlines say their staff are now well equipped to handle and police all the new health certifications needed after worry that the problem will be exacerbated when some countries also start to ask for vaccination certificates.
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At Brussels Airlines, staff have shared fake certificates that they have come across-including one from an incident last week-to stay abreast of the techniques fraudsters are using.
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