The officers at the checkpoint detected the false documents during the verification process.
- Ministry of Security photo -

Published Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Foreigners detained on suspicion of
using fake covid-19 diagnostic test

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Agents from the Judicial Investigation Organization arrested two international travelers at the Juan Santamaría International Airport, in Alajuela Province, on suspicion of using a fake covid-19 lab test.

According to the police report, both suspects presented the allegedly false test results as part of the requirements they had to meet to travel.

The first man arrested was a Brazilian citizen, travelling back to his home country, when he showed the medical documents, the officers detected the false laboratory results.

The second man arrested was a Venezuelan citizen travelling to Colombia. He presented officials with the alleged fake documents showing negative lab results from a covid-19 test for two underage international travelers.

The officers at the checkpoint detected the false documents during the verification process, questioning the laboratories mentioned in the documents.

According to the Embassy of Brazil in Costa Rica, their citizens who want to return to the country must comply with a 14-day quarantine, present a negative covid-19 PCR test carried out 72 hours before the first boarding point.

In the case of Colombians planning to return to their home country, according to their embassy in Costa Rica, they are requiring their citizens to have a certificate of the negative covid-19 PCR test. The test must be performed 96 hours before expected arrival in Colombia.

However, airlines must allow the boarding of passengers who do not have this test, when they verbally state that they had difficulties doing the test or obtain the result in the term required prior to the flight. The verbal manifestation of the passenger will be understood to be made under the gravity of oath, the embassy said in its statement.

The two suspects were taken to the Public Ministry, where they will face a judge who will consider pre-trial measures as suspects of using false documents.

In January, the Ministry of Health authorized private laboratories to carry out covid-19 diagnostic tests for people who must leave the country.

The tests will only be for people who must travel to a country where there is an entry requirement.

The antigen diagnostic test detects proteins of the virus. To obtain a sample, a swab must be inserted into the nose. This allows the result in less than 24 hours.

Private laboratories to carry out the diagnostic test are LABIN Lab., Clínica Bíblica Hospital, Páez Lab., San José Lab and Metropolitano Hospital, among others that are part of the Chamber of Health.

According to the Ministry of Tourism, the covid detection tests could cost $100 in the Greater Metropolitan Area, GAM, which is the zone made up of cities in the outskirts of San José such as Alajuela, Heredia and Cartago. In rural zones, the most expensive pricing for the test is $150.

Costa Rican authorities are not requesting tourists for a covid-19 diagnostic test when entering the country. But this decision could change depending on the development of the virus in the country, the ministry said in its statement.

What have you heard of expats facing problems to obtain a covid-19 diagnostic test in Costa Rica? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to


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