Indian govt health official fired after viral video showed him taking bribes to produce fake negative Covid test report

• Fake Covid-19 report providing lab busted in Gurugram (PTI). Separate incident. Photo: Timesofindia
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Indian government health employee was fired on Wednesday, days after a viral video showed him collecting bribes from people to provide negative Covid test results.

Vijay Pal, 50, who worked at Nawabganj community health center in Farrukhabad, UP, was accused of charging Rs 200 – about $3 for the fake test report. He was also heard saying that the money is needed for ‘wrong doings’, according to the Indian Express.

The man is seen in the video making the statement in his office, according to the report. It is suspected that the video was recorded by the person who had asked for the false test report.

As India continues to grapple with increasing number of coronavirus cases, there have also been an increase in the number of illegal activities across the country.

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Covid test results are required at many places, and especially for travelers, but some people attempt to bypass these requirements by purchasing counterfeit coronavirus test results.

In March, a couple from Khar in Mumbai was reportedly arrested and charged for faking their Covid-19 test reports. The couple and their child were set to fly to Jaipur, but all three had tested positive so they faked the negative report to be able to take the flight, civic body officials said.

Photo via news18

According to local media, the couple who are in their 50s, took the test on February 26, a day before their flight to Jaipur, but were stopped at the airport in Mumbai after officials spotted the fake negative test reports. A negative Covid test is mandatory to enter Rajasthan if one is coming from Maharashtra, among a few other states in India.

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Authorities said the entire family had tested positive for Covid-19 but when a BMC official called in to check on the results, they were told the entire family was negative. They sent the faked test report to the officer over WhatsApp.

However, the officer also reached out to the diagnostic center for a copy of the family’s results, and the reports showed they had the infection, indicating forgery.

In November last year, two Indian men were arrested for providing about 1,000 fake Covid test reports, on the basis of which many infected people traveled abroad.

The coronavirus pandemic has struck a devastating blow on Indians, with 22.66 million cases and 246,116 deaths reported as of May 11.  Experts believe the actual numbers could be 5 to10 times higher as Indian residents continue to struggle to find hospital beds, oxygen, or medicines, leaving many to die for lack of treatment.

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Many residents in Gujarat – a state in western India, have been going to cow shelters once a week to cover their bodies in cow dung and urine in the hope it will boost their immunity against, or help them recover from  coronavirus.

Indian Medical Doctors have warned against the practice, stating there is no scientific evidence for its effectiveness and that it risks spreading other diseases.

Doctors warn against using cow dung for COVID treatment in India