Coronavirus crisis: Hundreds of faulty 'home COVID-19 kits' intercepted en route to Perth
Hundreds of faulty ‘home kits’ purported to test for COVID-19 have been intercepted by Australian Border Force officers — with 250 of them headed for Perth.
Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton revealed this morning that a number of imported packages were stopped by the ABF, which later revealed that 200 units were earmarked for a residence in Wembley Downs and 50 more were headed to Morley.
The first consignment of 200 units originated from China and arrived in Perth as air cargo via Singapore on Monday, March 16.
Similar detections have since been made in Perth on March 23, while a third package of 39 kits were en route to Melbourne on March 27.
Both of those shipments originated in Hong Kong.
Mr Dutton said these tests could present a serious risk to public health and warned they would undermine the lifesaving work of health professionals.
"Inaccurate results could prevent people from seeking the medical help they need, or alternatively, discourage people who should be self-isolating from doing so," Minister Dutton said.
"The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has ruled the tests kits as unapproved medical devices. These are risks the Australian community simply can’t afford to be taking at this critical time.
"Our ABF officers at the border are on alert for any unauthorised or homemade COVID-19 products and they will continue working day and night to ensure these dangerous goods don’t make it into Australian households and communities," Minister Dutton said.
The TGA has confirmed the test kits are not registered for use in Australia and those behind the shipments had not sought approval for importing them.
The only approved tests for COVID-19 in Australia currently are laboratory based tests or tests that can be used by health professionals.
Last week the State Government went as far as banning the use of finger-prick COVID-19 tests as a diagnostic tool in WA because of the potential for “false negatives”.
The ban came after Pioneer Health Albany ordered 1500 of the tests to conduct a drive through testing clinic in the Great Southern.
No one had been tested using the kits prior to the decision to ban them.