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Doctor admits fraud after faking PCR Covid-19 test certificate to fly abroad

·2-min read
A passenger walks past a sign for the Covid testing centre in Heathrow's Terminal 5 (PA Wire)
A passenger walks past a sign for the Covid testing centre in Heathrow's Terminal 5 (PA Wire)

A doctor was caught trying to fly out of the UK with a fake Covid-19 test certificate, a court heard today.

Sohyla Mohamed, 36, was boarding a flight from Heathrow to Egypt on April 2 when she was stopped by officials, suspicious about paperwork saying she was virus-free.

Government rules stipulate that travellers must take a PCR test and have a document certifying they are not carrying Covid-19 before being allowed to fly.

Mohamed, who intended to fly with her two children, claims she had taken a lateral flow test and knew she was not carrying the virus, and asked a friend to produce a fake PCR certificate to get past airport controls.

She told Wimbledon magistrates court today: “I wanted to be sure I was free from Covid, that was what was in my mind. I’m really sorry.”

Magistrate Susan Keisler imposed a six-week prison sentence, suspended for a year, and ordered Mohamed to carry out 60 hours of community service.

“She admitted presenting a false certificate at Heathrow airport which showed she had a negative PCR test”, she said.

“She was with her two children, set to board a flight to Egypt. She has indicated she is a doctor and needed to return to Egypt to renew her annual leave as a matter of urgency.

“Ms Mohamed said she had taken a lateral flow test and was satisfied she didn’t have Covid, but the Covid rules effective today and on April 2, 2021 require that in order to travel abroad one must obtain a PCR test. A lateral flow test is not sufficient or acceptable to fly abroad.

“She knew what she was doing, she knew a PCR test was required as she found a friend to make a false document for her.”

The magistrate added: “She could have put many people at risk.”

Asked about the nature of her medical qualifications, Mohamed said she was a “doctor of eyes”.

She pleaded guilty to a charge of fraud by false representation.

Magistrates ordered her to pay £213 in court costs and fees.

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