At least 9,000 people have been swabbed with reused Chinese coronavirus antigen kits at Kualanamu Airport in North Sumatra, Indonesia, over the past three months, local police said Thursday.
Antigen tests are used to detect the presence of a specific viral antigen, or protein, which is part of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes the disease called “COVID-19,” or the Chinese coronavirus. Antigen tests are collected via nasal cavity swabs.
North Sumatra police announced on April 28 that they recently arrested five medical workers from the Indonesian state-owned Kimia Farma Diagnostic pharmaceutical company for reusing antigen test kits on travelers at Indonesia’s Kualanamu Airport since at least December 2020.
“The suspects allegedly washed and cleaned used cotton swabs — which are supposed to be discarded after use — and repackaged them for reuse at the airport lab,” the Indonesian news site Coconuts Jakarta reported on April 30.