Austrian authorities have announced that the country carries more than 10,000 checks per week, as 500 fake COVID-19 certificates have been discovered since March.
“Since March 2021, nearly 500 forged certificates have been examined, and the corresponding criminal measures have been taken,” said Austrian Director General of Public Security, Franz Ruff.
According to a press release from Austria’s Federal Ministry of the Interior, Rove noted that the country’s authorities are carefully studying certification through a two-step system.
COVID-19 certificates or other equivalent documents are first checked against the data they contain, and then compared to information on the ID card, including a photo of the holder, TheSchengen.com reports.
“If false testimonies are found, it will have lasting consequences for people who are found to be criminals,” Rove added.
Fake COVID-19 permits are obtained illegally by people who want to travel without having to go through a test or vaccination process.
With the exception of Austria, other illegal activities related to fake COVID-19 cards have also been detected in other EU countries.
Yesterday, TheSchengen.com reported that 12 people had been arrested in Germany for selling false documents. Through the process carried out by more than 200 police officers, it was found that each document sold for more than 400 euros.
The sale of fake COVID cards has also been reported in Ireland. An Irish national believed to be a drug dealer has sold fake testimonies on the Dark Web.
>> Ireland: fake vaccine certificates sold on the Dark Web for 350 euros
In order to help the country weather another wave of COVID-19, the Austrian authorities have announced that the country has decided to tighten its entry rules.
For now, Austria has a “3-G rule” in place for incoming travelers. However, as cases of infection are increasing rapidly, Austria will enforce the “2.5-G rule”.
Thus, from November 22, when the new rule comes into effect, rapid antigen tests will no longer be valid for entry into Austria. Only PCR tests and the other two certifications that fall under the EU Digital COVID-19 certification or other equivalent document will be recognized.
In addition, Austria requires everyone, including travelers, to follow the “2-G rule” while in the country. All persons are required to provide valid proof of immunity or vaccination to allow access to the majority of indoor areas and other activities.
“It was not an easy decision. This measure is necessary so as not to overwhelm intensive care beds in hospitals,” Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nahammer said.
>> Austria imposes stricter entry rules due to another wave of COVID-19