With more than 1300 known Covid-19 (Coronavirus) cases in the country, South Africa is in a nation-wide lockdown as fears of a widespread outbreak continues to grow. Laboratories worldwide are reportedly running critically low on tests - fearing that the actual number of cases is much higher. Confirming this would be impossible without testing.
As worrying as this is, there is another problem looming just over the horizon.
Although test kits are now sold publically by laboratories, multiple people claim to be selling FDA and TOV approved testing kits on public platforms such as Gumtree and OLX. Others claim the kits are medically approved stock supplied by Business to Business (B2B) medical companies.
Image: Covid-19 test kits being sold by individuals to the public at a price hike. [Source: Gumtree and OLX South Africa]
The matter has been reported to the National Consumer Commission to be investigated.
Since the news of SA’s first confirmed Covid-19 case was reported on the 4th of March, more than 28,500 Covid-19 tests have been conducted nationwide - making South Africa the only African country to have tested this extensively.
In a statement, SA Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize said that he expects around 30,000 tests to be done per day by the end of April.
This is proving to be a challenge due to a shortage in tests. During a media briefing on the 24th of March, Higher Education Minister, Mr Blade Nzimande announcing that the current lockdown may threaten the country’s access to test kits and that local suppliers are urgently being sourced.
NOTE: The sellers of the products shown above failed to provide proof of authenticity, so it is probable that such ads are either a scam, or the advertised equipment is counterfeit or stolen.
Either way, DO NOT BUY OR USE THESE TESTS!
Members of the public are encouraged to seek help from authorised medical practitioners, or phone the Coronavirus 24-hour hotline number at 0800 029 999 should they experience symptoms of the virus or would like to report a suspected case.
To report similar cases, please report the matter by contacting the National Consumer Commission (NCC) at 0800 014 880