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British Teacher Faces Jail Threat for Faking COVID-19 Pre-Departure Test

British Teacher Faces Jail Threat for Faking COVID-19 Pre-Departure Test

A British music teacher faces the threat of a prison sentence after trying to board a flight to Egypt at London Heathrow Airport with a fake COVID-19 test certificate. Eagle-eyed Egyptair ground agents at the airport noticed that the certificate test number presented by Philip Cunningham, 33, was missing a single digit.

Cunningham tried to use the fake certificate on May 4 and admitted fraud by false representation at Ealing Magistrates Court on Wednesday. He will be sentenced next month after District Judge Chris Hack warned Cunningham that it was a “serious” offences and that all options remained on the table.

The court heard how Cunningham initially insisted that the pre-departure test was genuine but his lies were undone when police officers contacted the testing company who revealed they had no record of the teacher taking a test with them, the Daily Mail reports.

Cunningham was taken into custody where prosecutor Izola Gribbin said that he later admitted sending police on a “wild goose chase”.

The Egyptian government requires all passengers flying to Egypt from London Heathrow to present a negative COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test certificate taken within 96 hours of departure. There is widespread availability of PCR testing in the UK but there is concern that test costs remain too high for many travellers to afford.

Faking test certificates is nothing new but Cunningham is believed to be one of the first Briton’s prosecuted for trying to board a flight with a fraudulent COVID-19 test.

In this case, a fake test certificate is likely to cost Cunningham a lot more than the price of a real PCR test.

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