Airport workers arrested for letting passengers skip quarantine

An airport worker and two others have been arrested after they were caught accepting bribes in exchange for forging entry documents allowing passengers to avoid mandatory quarantine.

The scam, which took place at Mumbai airport in India, involved charging travellers 4,000 rupees (£40) each for documentation allowing them to skip a seven-day institutional quarantine, reports The Times of India.

After a new, more transmissible variant of coronavirus was discovered in the UK at the end of 2020, authorities in Mumbai upped local travel restrictions, requiring that all arrivals from Europe and the Middle East self-isolate in a hotel for a week at their own expense.

Travellers must then receive a negative Covid test result and undergo a further seven days’ quarantine at home.

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The only exceptions are those who have had a death in their immediate family and women who are in the late stages of pregnancy.

The sub-engineer and his two accomplices are believed to have forged documentation allowing travellers to forgo the hotel stay by saying they were eligible for home quarantine instead.

The police seized 140,000 rupees (£1,405) and 200 Saudi Riyals (£39) from the suspects, along with a fake rubber stamp used to certify home quarantine, and doctors’ notes providing quarantine exemption.

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It means that potentially tens of passengers have skipped obligatory quarantine since the employee was transferred to Mumbai airport on 23 December.

Police are currently investigating whether any other staff members were involved in the scheme.

It follows the news that 45 people tried to enter Croatia using fake Covid-19 PCR test certificates in the last weekend alone.

According to Croatian police, the perpetrators have been detained and, if found guilty, could face up to three years in prison, reports Total Croatia News.

The travellers were all stopped trying to cross the border from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Travel restrictions currently state that people can only enter Croatia from the neighbouring country if they present evidence of a negative PCR test or a doctor’s certificate proving they have already been infected with and recovered from the virus in recent months.

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