‘Do-it-yourself’ COVID-19 test kits seized by Border Force
Hundreds of COVID-19 testing kits ordered in to Australia from China and Hong Kong have been seized at the border amid concerns they could pose a serious risk to the public.
The kits, which purport to use a blood sample and a buffer solution to produce a "preliminary test result", were on their way to Australian homes.
It is understood Australian Border Force expects more to arrive in to NSW and other States after the seizures in Perth and Melbourne.
The first consignment of 200 kits originated from China, arriving in Perth as air cargo via Singapore on March 16.
Another 50 kits originating in Hong Kong were also sent to Perth on March 23, with 39 believed to have been going to the Sydney suburb of Mount Lewis via Melbourne.
With the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) ruling the kits as "unapproved medical devices", the federal government has cautioned anyone who may have bought one or was ordering one from overseas.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, who was recently himself diagnosed with COVID-19, said the kits could present a serious risk to public health, while undermining 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," he said.
"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.
The TGA has also confirmed the importers did not have approval to import the kits.
In Australia, the only approved tests for COVID-19 are laboratory-based tests or those that can be used by health professionals in hospitals or clinics.
Contravening the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 carries serious penalties,
It is understood the kits were bound for homes in the Perth suburbs of Wembley Downs, Morley.
Originally published as 'Do-it-yourself' COVID-19 test kits seized by Border Force