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Thousands of fake Covid-19 certificates uncovered in Switzerland

Shadowy person displays Covid certificate on smartphone
The lastest fake certificate scam is the largest yet to be discovered in Switzerland. Keystone / Laurent Gillieron

Criminal proceedings have been launched in Switzerland following the discovery of around 8,000 fake Covid-19 vaccination certificates that were issued in the eastern canton of St Gallen.

Police believe the forged documents were handed out by people working at private test centres that had access to the national certificate issuing system. It is assumed that the fraud was a money-making scam with recipients being charged for the fakes.

This is not the first time that police have uncovered fake certificate scams in Switzerland, but it is the largest operation that has come to light so far.

Fraudulent schemes in cantons Vaud, Geneva and Schaffhausen have involved no more than a few hundred certificates.

The St Gallen fake certificates have all been cancelled, the authorities said on Thursday. No forgeries had been issued from official cantonal testing centres.

Both the people who made the forgeries and anyone who knowingly accepted them face potential jail terms or fines if found guilty.

Around 67% of the Swiss population is fully vaccinated against coronavirus and 20% of people have received booster jabs so far.

The number of new infections has been creeping up in recent weeks, reaching 11,451 cases on Thursday.

On December 20, the government ordered fresh restrictions on public and private gatherings. The new rules are largely aimed at unvaccinated people.

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