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Coronavirus: Man arrested in Bangladesh over fake COVID-19 certificates

Coronavirus: Man arrested in Bangladesh over fake COVID-19 certificates

Police in Dhaka, Bangladesh have arrested a man for issuing fake coronavirus test reports. The man, who owned two hospitals, was arrested as he was trying to flee the country.

After a nine-day manhunt, security officials finally arrested the man, who was allegedly issuing certificates telling people they were free of the virus without even testing them.

"He was arrested from the bank of a border river as he was trying to flee to India. He was wearing a burqa," Rapid Action Battalion spokesman Colonel Ashique Billah told AFP.

Read more: Coronavirus: Economy down, poverty up in Bangladesh

Shahed is the chair of the Regent group, and owner of two Regent hospitals in Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka. The two hospitals had not renewed their licenses, but the government had allowed them to operate as a place for treating COVID-19 patients.

Shahed's hospitals claimed to have carried out 10,500 coronavirus tests. Only 4,200 of them were genuine and the remaining 6,300 test reports, were allegedly given without conducting tests. He also allegedly charged people for tests and virus treatment, despite agreeing with the government to provide these services for free at his hospitals.

Local media said that fake testing was becoming a menace, with Shahed being one of more than a dozen arrested over such scams. A doctor and her husband were also arrested recently for issuing fake certificates at a Dhaka laboratory.

Media reports said the recent cases of fake testing are expected to affect Bangladeshi migrant workers, whose earnings from overseas bring in about $19 billion (€16.6 billion) a year. Recently, Italy had suspended air travel from Bangladesh after some Bangladeshi workers reportedly presented fake certificates.

Bangladesh has started reopening the economy in May after lockdown, even though numbers are steadily going up. The South Asian country has reported 196,323 infections and 2,496 deaths. Health experts believe the numbers to be much higher.

tg/aw (AFP, AP)