Two travelers entering Canada from the United States have been fined thousands of dollars after they were caught using fraudulent vaccination cards and COVID-19 test results to cross the border.
The travelers arrived in Toronto on the week of July 18, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.
In addition to "providing false information related to proof of vaccination credentials and pre-departure tests," they failed to stay at government-authorized accommodations or get tested for COVID-19 upon their arrival, Canadian officials said in a news release on Friday.
The travelers were each fined $19,720 Canadian dollars — or about $16,000 in U.S. dollars — for their "non-compliance with entry requirements."
Though the travelers have not been identified by name, Health Canada spokesperson Maryse Durette told NBC News that they are Canadian citizens.
The incident marked the first case of travelers using fake vaccination documents to enter Canada, Durette said.
On July 5, Canadian officials announced that fully vaccinated travelers with an exemption to enter the country can skip quarantine and post-arrival testing if they upload proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test result to the ArriveCAN app prior to travel.
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Those who do not meet the eligibility are required to quarantine for 14 days and undergo COVID-19 test eight days after their arrival. Air travelers who are not fully vaccinated must also stay at a government-approved hotel for three days following their entry into Canada.
Violating any quarantine instructions when entering Canada is an offense under Canada's Quarantine Act and could lead to a $5,000 fine for each day of non-compliance, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada. More serious penalties can include six months of prison.
"The Government of Canada will continue to investigate incidents reported and will not hesitate to take enforcement action where it is warranted to protect the health of Canadians from the further spread of COVID-19 and its variants of concern," the agency said in statement.
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