Police headquarters issued emergency instructions on Wednesday after receiving information that motorists could be using fake COVID certificates to pass through roadblocks that were designed to block travel without a legitimate purpose.
According to local media, police officers were told Wednesday afternoon to watch out for citizens who may be using fake health certificates that might show they tested negative for the coronavirus.
Reports said Police Chief Stylianos Papatheodorou gave emergency instructions to patrol officers at all nine roadblock locations to be more prudent during inspections after “reliable sources” indicated that citizens traveling to and from Limassol and Paphos, Cyprus’ two districts under strict lockdown measures, could be plotting to cheat their way through.
The Chief of Police gave the go ahead for violators to be arrested on suspicion of forgery if necessary, while officers have been instructed to issue fines before turning vehicles back
According to media speculation, based on information given to police from unnamed sources, a number of citizens were choosing to go through roadblocks during peak hours or even showing fake PCR negative test results.
Traffic director Yiannakis Georgiou, according to 24News, said no drivers had been found with fake documents as of Thursday morning. But a day earlier, the Chief of Police reportedly gave the go ahead for violators to be arrested on suspicion of forgery if necessary, according to local media, while officers have been instructed to issue fines before turning vehicles back.
Measures to stop the spread of the pandemic are currently in place in all districts through the end of the month, while additional measures in Limassol and Paphos include a ban on movement of persons to and from the two districts except for those working in essential services, traveling for a medical incident, or air and sea passengers in transit.
But motorists traveling to Nicosia from the two affected districts were caught in bumper-to-bumper traffic when the measures went into effect, with Justice Minister Emily Yiolitis stepping in and coordinating with police to carry out only random checks during peak hours.
It was not clear how many citizens may have passed through roadblocks without a legitimate purpose since the random checks were put in place, but police said officers issued 48 citations in the last 24 hours out of a total of 2831 inspections in all districts.
According to an official report, there were 15 citations in Limassol out of 333 checks and 7 in Paphos out of 585, while most cases included fines of €300.
Current measures are schedule to expire on November 30 while the government on Friday is expected to announce a new set of measures ahead of Christmas holidays.