About 100 fake Covid test certificates are being discovered by UK border officials every day, say reports.
The false documents claiming a traveller has a recent negative test result are “very easy” to forge, MPs were told, according to The Telegraph and others.
The Telegraph said that Lucy Moreton, professional officer for the Immigration Services Union (ISU) – which represents border immigration and customs staff in the UK – also said there is “little to no” evidence on how well people are adhering to quarantine rules.
She told the All Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus that about 20,000 people are entering the country each day, mostly hauliers.
To enter England, people must provide proof of a negative test taken in the three days before departure.
The Telegraph said she told the MPs that officials cannot easily verify the tests but they identify “100 or more a day” due to spelling errors.
She added that current plans to reopen travel e-gates will make a “massive difference” to queues, but it will “impair Covid security”.
The newspaper also reported comments by Professor Deenan Pillay of University College London and a member of Independent SAGE, who said the system for checking incoming passengers is “very leaky”.
It added that Layla Moran MP, chair of the APPG on coronavirus, said “current border checks are totally inadequate to stop Covid cases entering the UK, including dangerous variants”.
She called on the government to “act now to stop our airports becoming breeding grounds for the virus” and said the government should be “actively discouraging foreign travel”, according to the Telegraph.
‘Significant gaps in border measures’
Meanwhile, it has emerged that a quarter of people arriving in the UK from countries requiring home isolation under Covid quarantine rules are not contactable by the authorities.
The finding came in a letter from the Home Office, published by the home affairs committee.
The correspondence further indicates that thousands of cases where quarantine rules have been broken are not investigated and no enforcement action is being taken.
Chair of the committee Yvette Cooper MP has called on the Home Office to do more to ensure that new Covid variants are not spread by people arriving in the UK and failing to follow quarantine rules.
“This letter raises real concerns about significant gaps in the way that border Covid measures are being implemented,” she said.
“Given that only 1% of international arrivals are going into quarantine hotels, a properly enforced home quarantine system is vital to prevent new variants from spreading, and will be integral to any traffic light system the government announces for the summer.
“The Government’s quarantine arrangements still have too many gaps. Passengers are still arriving at Heathrow without needing a test at the airport before they can get onto public transport home after being on planes or trains and in busy terminals, with no consequences if they break the rules or can’t be found.
“It is inexplicable that basic border measures are still not robust.”
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