Indonesia airport workers accused of reusing COVID-19 nasal swabs

 Indonesia airport workers accused of reusing COVID-19 nasal swabs
© FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

Indonesia airport workers are being accused of reusing COVID-19 nasal swab tests at Kualanamu airport.

Five employees from Kimia Farma, a state-owned pharmaceutical company, were arrested last week for allegedly reusing nasal swab tests by washing them and reselling them, BBC reported.

The employees were in charge of administering antigen rapid test kits for passengers ahead of flights. 

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The airport required a negative COVID-19 test before boarding flights and many passengers opted to pay $13 to get a rapid test at the airport before their flight.

Workers were taking used nasal swabs, washing them off and reselling them, authorities allege.

The group collected $124,000 and the money was possibly used to build one of the suspects a new house, according to the BBC.

Authorities believe the scam began in December and was discovered after a noticeable number of false positive tests emerged from the site.

An undercover police officer went in and received a false positive test after testing negative immediately before the operation. The police raided the area and discovered the reused tests, the BBC reported.

Two lawyers who were victims of the alleged scam are preparing to sue the company on behalf of over 9,000 victims, the South China Morning Post reported.

Erick Thohir, the country’s minister of state-owned enterprises, said there those involved in the scheme will be punished.