By B.N. Frank
It’s bad enough that at least 2 women have suffered brain lining injuries from COVID nasal swab tests (see 1, 2). Now an airline is being investigated for re-using COVID nasal swabs for testing thousands of people. Gross.
From Ars Technica:
9,000 fliers may have had reused swabs jammed up their noses in Indonesia
Five workers were arrested for washing and reusing cotton swabs for testing.
Beth Mole – 5/6/2021, 4:10 PM
Since last December, more than 9,000 airline passengers who took a coronavirus rapid test as they flew out of Kualanamu International Airport in Medan, Indonesia, may have been tested by having previously used cotton swabs jammed into their noses.
Medan police arrested four workers and a local manager of the major pharmaceutical company Kimia Farma, which was working in conjunction with the airport to help perform the tests. The Medan-based Kimia Farma employees were allegedly washing and repacking cotton swabs for the tests while pocketing up to 1.8 billion rupiah (~$125,000), local police said.
Airline passengers in Indonesia are required to present a negative COVID-19 test result before boarding, and many opt for the convenience of being tested at the airport. Since the alleged swab scam began in December, Kimia Farma workers were testing between 100 and 200 passengers a day at the airport, some with fresh tests and others with tests that apparently involved reused swabs.
The alleged scam came to light when passengers began complaining of false-positive tests, according to the BBC. In response, local police sent an undercover officer to pose as a passenger to get tested. The officer tested positive at the airport but then received a negative test elsewhere. Police raided the airport test site and discovered swab recycling. They also seized more than 149 million rupiah ($10,000).
Medan police chief R.Z. Panca Putra Simanjuntak told reporters that police are now trying to follow up with passengers to see if any contracted COVID-19 from the reused swabs, according to the South China Morning Post (SCMP).
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