ANKARA 

Police in Zimbabwe have arrested two men for selling fake negative COVID-19 test results to travelers at the country’s northern Chirundu border post, which is the gateway to neighboring Zambia, local media reported Monday.

The men were arrested on Dec. 3 while in possession of more than 330 blank stamped certificates, The Herald local news website reported.

“The suspects were arrested after a tipoff from members of the public, leading to the recovery of 334 blank stamped COVID-19 certificates, two tubes containing glass capillaries, two testing kits, two receipt books, three plastic capillaries, a COVID-19 test record register, a methylated spirit bottle and one packet of new needles in their office at Self-Med Complex,” it quoted national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi as saying.

The men, who have no medical qualifications, were arrested after receiving US$120 from two complainants who wanted to cross the border, Nyathi added, according to the report.

Zimbabwean regulations require travelers to produce a PCR COVID-19 clearance certificate issued by a recognized health facility within 48 hours before leaving the country by road or air. The PCR test costs about US$65 in Zimbabwe, according to The Herald.

The Herald also reported that some people working at Harare Central and Chitungwiza Central hospitals are issuing fake COVID-19 certificates. Police responded by vowing to investigate and bring to book those who are involved in the illegal activity.

Cross-border traders as well as job-seekers and others “desperate for cheaper certificates are the major clients of the corrupt cartels,” said The Herald.

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