Staffs at an Indonesian pharmaceutical company have been accused of washing and repackaging used Covid nasal swabs, which were then sold to thousands of unsuspecting travellers. Five employees from the state-owned Kimia Farma have been arrested, while the company may also face a civil lawsuit over the claims.
Police believe up to 9,000 people may have been tested with a reused swab kit while travelling through Kualanamu airport in Medan, North Sumatra. Anyone taking a domestic flight in Indonesia must provide a negative result from a rapid antigen test, which is often conducted on site at an airport.
Five employees from Kimia Farma, which supplied the airport, are accused of washing cotton swabs with alcohol before repackaging them – a violation of health laws and the consumer protection act.
Police are also investigating whether profits from the alleged scheme, estimated to be around 1.8bn rupiah (£89,712), were used by one of the employees to fund the construction of a new house, according to local media.