A rather disgusting and extremely dangerous scam involving Covid testing at Medan Airport in Indonesia was just discovered where vendors used the same swabs several times across different patients.
According to authorities up to 9,000 passengers at an airport in Medan may have been tested with reused swab sticks, subjecting them to cross contamination and falsified test results.
As soon as this whole Covid situation unraveled it was clear from the beginning that it would provide ample opportunity for scams of all sorts and testing/certification was the immediate target of the fraudsters.
According to BBC today up to 9000 people are affected in Indonesia and the responsible company now faces legal action.
Several employees of a pharmaceutical company have been arrested in Indonesia for allegedly washing and reselling used Covid nasal swab test kits.
Up to 9,000 passengers at an airport in Medan may have been tested with the reused swab sticks, say police.
State-owned company Kimia Farma is now reportedly facing a potential lawsuit launched on behalf of the travellers.
Covid nasal swab testing has become routine in many countries hit by the global pandemic.
Police said they believed the scam had been happening since last December at Kualanamu airport in Medan, North Sumatra.
Passengers are required to have a negative test if they want to fly, and the airport offers the option of getting the swabs done on site. Airport authorities had used antigen rapid test kits supplied by Kimia Farma.
Following complaints from passengers that they had received false positive test results, police sent an undercover officer to pose as a passenger last week, reported local news outlet Detik.
When he was swabbed and received a positive test result, other officers swooped in and raided the test site, where they found a used test kit that had been recycled.
Last week, five Kimia Farma employees – including the company’s Medan manager – were arrested. The suspects are accused of breaking health and consumer laws by washing nasal swab sticks and repackaging them for sale.
Local media said authorities have compiled reports from 23 witnesses, and are investigating whether the profit from the scam – estimated to be around 1.8bn rupiah (£89,700; $124,800) – was used to fund the construction of a lavish house for one of the suspects. …
This not only subjects the people to infections after the swabs are being reused which is extremely dangerous but it also invalidates pretty much all test results issued by this particular testing station.
As soon as the police discovered a pattern following multiple complaints they sent in an undercover officer and raided the place. Plenty of evidence was discovered that at least some employees at this testing station ran an elaborate and dangerous scheme with these tests.
You can bet that this isn’t an isolated occurrence. You constantly hear about planes arriving for example from India where many people test positive upon arrival lets say in Hong Kong despite the passengers showing a negative test certificate upon departure. It’s pretty obvious these are procured from testing suppliers that issue fake certificates, either without actually running any tests or who just attest a negative result regardless of the specimen result. The next big haul is probably fake vaccine certificates.