Four tourists have been arrested in Brazil on suspicion of falsifying COVID-19 tests in an attempt to reach what some say is the world’s most beautiful beach. The two men and two women were arrested Thursday after landing in Fernando de Noronha, a group of islands off northern Brazil, according to a statement on the archipelago’s official website. The Brazilians, who took a private jet and arrived Wednesday night, were accused of falsifying documents, using falsified documents, and criminal association. TripAdvisor users rated Fernando de Noronha’s Sancho Bay the world’s top beach in 2020. Fernando de Noronha reopened to tourists on Oct. 10, the AP reports, requiring COVID-19 tests that show negative results and administered no earlier than one day before departure.
The visitors presented test results dated three days prior to their arrival. Officials said they couldn’t accept their tests and asked for samples to retest the four. The suspects refused, according to the statement, and soon presented new results with a different date. Officials became suspicious and called the laboratory, which confirmed that the documentation had been altered in an attempt to meet the island’s requirements. The tourists, who are from Brazil's Tocantins state, were jailed and were being tested for COVID-19 on Friday. Even outside of the pandemic, tourism is restricted to the UNESCO World Heritage Site in order to maintain the pristine marine park and ecological sanctuary. Dolphins and turtles gather in the waters around the islands, which makes it a top diving destination.
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