Bio-hazard warning: Hijackers hit truck carrying Covid-19 samples

Bio-hazard warning: Hijackers hit truck carrying Covid-19 samples

- A courier truck has been hijacked by armed robbers with an undisclosed number of Covid-19 specimens now missing

- The National Health Laboratory Services has warned the public against touching the bio-hazard specimens

- This incident has occurred just weeks after samples were found dumped near East London

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A courier truck ferrying Covid-19 specimens was hijacked in Port Elizabeth on Monday. With samples now missing, the National Health Laboratory Services has issued a warning to both the robbers and the general public not to touch the specimens.

The NHLS has cautioned that the samples may be highly infectious and manager Tabita Makula urged anyone who comes across the sample to report it immediately.

The pathology services institute is still attempting to determine how many of the stolen samples where missing and how many people would need to be retested. Makula explained that the bio-hazard samples were kept in cooler boxes with ice tubes:

"The cooler boxes had ice packs for the purposes of keeping the samples in cool temperatures. We can confirm that the truck was commissioned by us to collect samples in our facilities in the area."
Bio-hazard warning: Hijackers hit truck carrying Covid-19 samples

The public was warned against touching the possibly contagious specimens. Image: GCIS
Source: UGC

READ ALSO: COVID-19 test samples found dumped in the Eastern Cape

News24 reports that PE police spokesperson Colonel Priscila Naidu confirmed that cases of hijacking and theft are currently under investigation:

"It is alleged that at about 15:30, a courier company was at the clinic parking area in NU11 when the driver and the passenger were held at gunpoint. The unknown suspects demanded the keys of the vehicle and drove away. No shots fired. The victims were also robbed of their personal belongings."

Earlier, reported that Covid-19 test kits dumped on the side of the N2 between East London and King William's Town were found by a passer-by.

One of the kits was labelled for Grey Hospital in King William's Town. Eastern Cape Health Department spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said the matter was being investigated by the department as well as the National Health Laboratory Services.

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