Spain health worker
File picture: A health worker takes a sample for a PCR test for COVID-19. Image Credit: AP

Abu Dhabi: A Saudi guard and an expatriate employee of a private COVID-19 screening centre in Riyadh have been arrested for forging and selling coronavirus test results, authorities said.

Investigations confirmed that the duo used their jobs to falsify test results for a fee, the official spokesperson for the Riyadh Health Department said in a statement.

The staff members were found to have been altering the negative test results of other people. Then, the people who paid them used these fake results, the spokesperson added.

“They were found in possession of a number of forged certificates, and the preliminary investigations showed that they worked for their own account, without the knowledge of the screening facility, by entering the system illegally and issuing reports,” the spokesperson said.

As soon as their scheme was busted, the employees were handed over to the police, who referred them to the prosecution for further questioning and trial. The two suspects’ criminal offences are punishable by six months’ jail and a fine of SR100,000, the spokesperson said.

“Legal action shall be taken against anyone who fails to abide by the laws, procedures and precautionary measures set to curb the spread of COVID-19,” the spokesperson reiterated.

Strict implementation of rules and a zero-tolerance approach are part of the Saudi efforts to fight the pandemic and keep the community safe, the authorities added.

Thanks to more readily available testing, COVID-19 test forgery does not appear to be widespread in the Kingdom.

Scams like these may have less of a chance of succeeding once all test results are delivered electronically instead of accepting printed forms.