26 September 2023

Border Force draws line on virus tests

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The Australian Border Force (ABF) has urged Australians to be wary of faulty ‘home’ COVID-19 test kits after its officers intercepted a number of imported consignments of the kits in recent weeks.

In a statement, the ABF said a consignment of 200 testing units from China had been intercepted mid-March, with similar detections since made in Perth (50 units) on 23 March and Melbourne (39 units) on 27 March.

Minister for Home Affairs, Peter Dutton said the tests presented a serious risk to public health and warned they would undermine the vital, lifesaving work of health professionals currently battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Inaccurate results could prevent people from seeking the medical help they need, or alternatively, discourage people who should be self-isolating from doing so,” Mr Dutton said.

He said the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) had ruled the test kits as unapproved medical devices.

“These are risks the Australian community simply can’t afford to be taking at this critical time,” Mr Dutton said.

“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.”

He said the only currently approved tests for COVID-19 in Australia were laboratory-based tests or tests used by health professionals at the point of care such as in hospitals or clinics.

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