Huge fines issued to COVID-infected passengers with fake PCR tests.
Updated: Feb 19, 2021
Last month, two passengers flew from Mexico to Montreal after testing positive for COVID-19, and presenting counterfeit PCR tests to board their flight anyway, Transport Canada announced today.
After a "comprehensive investigation" determined that the two travellers "knowingly boarded a flight to Canada from Mexico on January 23, 2021, after having tested positive for COVID-19 only a few days before their flight" and "made a false declaration about their health status", the two passengers were fined $10,000 and $7,000 CAD, respectively, according to a Transport Canada statement.
The first passenger was given one fine of $5,000 for presenting a false or misleading test, and another fine of $5,000 for 'knowingly boarding an aircraft after having provided a false test. The second passenger was fined $2,000 and $5,000, respectively, for the same offences. No details were provided as to the reason the two were fined differently.
The individuals have not been named, and were not confirmed to be travelling together. A Transport Canada spokesperson cited privacy concerns as the reason this information has not been made public.
While arriving passengers are normally questioned by Canada Border Services agents on arrival, about details including their quarantine plans, it is not clear how it was determined that these two travellers had tested positive prior to travelling, nor how the test results they presented were determined to be falsified.
Since January 7th, every air passenger entering Canada has been required to show a negative test result from a PCR or LAMP molecular test for COVID-19, administered less than 72 hours before the departure of their flight to Canada. Other forms of test are not accepted, including rapid-antigen tests, and Transport Canada has directed all airlines to turn away any passenger who cannot produce such a test result at the time of boarding.
Beginning February 22nd, air passengers will also be required to undergo a mandatory hotel quarantine at their own expense, followed by the remainder of the existing 14-day home quarantine that has been in place since the beginning of the pandemic.