South Africa authorities have identified 18 cases of fake negative Covid-19 test results being produced at the Beitbridge border post by people attempting to enter the country from Zimbabwe.

Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba told TimesLIVE that there were syndicates illegally selling negative Covid-19 results to those wanting to enter the country.

“Anyone entering or leaving the country needs to produce Covid-19 test results that are not older than 72 hours; especially when someone is wanting to come back into our country, that is now where it becomes our problem — we cannot allow anyone back in who does not produce these negative results to enter the country, be it if they are returning to SA or entering.”

She said suspicions arose that people were obtaining fraudulent results when health officials began questioning people about their tests.

“With the first suspected fraudulent case, one of our nurses asked the person how the test was conducted and they replied that they had blood samples taken. We then knew that it was fake because with Covid tests they take swabs and not blood samples — that’s when we realised we are in trouble because that started to raise eyebrows.”

She said her department took a firm stance to turn away anyone who produced fake results.

“We are not going to waste our resources if we retest you and you are positive. We will ask immigration offices to decline your entry, you will not be allowed access to SA and must go back to where you are coming from.”