During Monday’s weekly press briefing, V.I. officials warned travellers that anyone who submits forged or falsified COVID-19 documents to the territory’s travel screening portal will be prosecuted.
“We recognize the challenge of our residents who travel to the mainland for a short period of time in getting the required COVID tests to return to the territory,” said Government House spokesman Richard Motta Jr. “But that is not an excuse to forge or falsify the required test documents.”
In the last week, 64 results were flagged for authenticity concerns and many of the documents were confirmed to be altered or made-up test results, according to a statement issued by the V.I. Attorney General’s Office.
“We are all responsible for keeping each other safe from sickness, that is why it was particularly disturbing to find out that some Virgin Islanders, and primarily Virgin Islanders are intentionally putting there fellow residents at risk of infection from a potentially deadly virus,” said V.I. Justice Department Criminal Division Chief Eric Chancellor. “We are the ones who should care most for each other. We are the ones who should be going out of our way to protect each other. There is simply no excuse for this behavior.”
Citing two sections of V.I. Code, Chancellor said individuals who submit fraudulent test results could face a fine of up to $500 and imprisonment up to two years on one charge and a fine of up to $1,000 and imprisonment up to five years on the second charge.
All passengers 5 years of age or older, including those in transit, must use the USVI Travel Screening Portal and submit a COVID-19 test result prior to travel. Passengers must submit either a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of travel or a positive COVID-19 antibody test taken within four months ahead of travel. Without clearance from the portal, passengers may not be able to board an aircraft or vessel to the territory. A test is not required to leave the Virgin Islands.