Fake Covid-19-free letters for sale online


Safety measures: Authorities checking a rider’s documents during large-scale social restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease in Denpasar, Bali. — Reuters

Hospital letters declaring the holder Covid-19-free is being offered on a number of e-commerce platforms for people hoping to travel amid the mudik (exodus) ban.

The document includes the letterhead and stamp of hospital operator Mitra Keluarga, complete with a blurred signature of a general practitioner and a watermark of a blocked website address.

Screenshots making the rounds on social media showed the letter was being sold for between Rp 70,000 (US$4.70) and Rp 39 million per copy.

Three e-commerce giants confirmed that the letter had been available on their platform but reiterated that each copy had been taken down.

The offering went viral amid news of a packed Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten, where passengers lined up to get their required travel documents checked by airport authorities, including negative Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, rapid test results or health documents from a hospital or clinic, to proceed to their flights.

The product sparked online discussions and jokes.

“Mudik without the hassle of rapid and swab tests. Cheap! Cheap! Let’s order,” @syafrinhd said in a retweet, adding #everythingcanmakemoney.

Mitra Keluarga denied having issued the letters.

“We will take legal action against any parties found using the Mitra Keluarga brand, including our letterhead, without our permission,” the hospital operator said in a statement on Thursday.

A Facebook user in Bali was previously caught trying to sell a fake health letter required for mudik. — The Jakarta Post/ANN

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