The National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS) says an initial report from the courier company transporting Covid-19 samples which were found along an Eastern Cape road, claims the cargo may have fallen through the canvas opening covering the bakkie.
On Monday, Covid-19 test samples were found along the N2 between King William’s Town and East London.
The NHLS said it reported the incident to the police and requested a full report from the courier on what caused the incident.
The initial report from the courier states that the bakkie’s canvas cover had opened without the driver realising it.
The listed telephone number for the courier company’s owners, Gibela Trade and Invest, rang and went unanswered.
On its website, the company listed all nine provincial departments of health as its clients.
NHLS spokesperson Mzi Gcukumana said the institution would take legal action against Gibela Trade and Invest.
“Further investigations will take place and the NHLS will take the appropriate legal action against the supplier. The NHLS has contacted all the affected patients and deployed nurses to recollect the samples,” said Gcukumana.
It was reported on Monday that hundreds of Covid-19 test samples were found by a passerby.
“The National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) is perturbed by the incident which saw one of its courier service providers losing samples in transit recently. The specimens belonged to the NHLS and were packaged in specimen bags with the NHLS laboratory request forms and a swab/specimen,” said Gcukumana.
Gcukumana said all specimens were from the Buffalo City Municipality area.
Among these was a package of three urgent samples referred from Bhisho Laboratory to Port Elizabeth for Covid-19 testing, said Gcukumana.
Subsequent to the discovery of the specimens, the NHLS dispatched its officials to the site to investigate and they found a total of 80 samples that were scattered around, said Gcukumana.
“The bulk of the samples were for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) testing. The NHLS courier services in this area are outsourced to Gibela Trade and Invest. Gibela Trade and Invest is therefore responsible for sample transportation between health facilities and laboratories.”