QCOSTARICA – The illegal market for false covid-19 tests has already produced 15 complaints and an alert call, this Wednesday, by the College of Microbiologists and Clinical Chemists (CMQC).
“In many areas of the country, PCR and antigen samples are being taken illegally in commercial establishments such as pharmacies, doctors’ offices, hotels, rent a car, private ambulance personnel and people outside our profession,” the CMQC denounced in a statement.
After the follow-up and verification of the complaints, the cases were referred to the Ministry of Health, so that it could proceed with the respective protocol.
Ana Lucía Aguilar Rivera, spokeswoman for the CMQC, indicated that they have even received information about documents issued by unscrupulous people, who falsify the logo and the stationery of laboratories authorized by the Ministry itself.
Travelers have been detained at the Juan Santamaría airport (San Jose airport) when they tried to leave the country, with false covid-19 negative test results.
Some 24 cases are in the hands of the Alajuela Prosecutor’s Office, which asks travelers to be very cautious, especially if they fly to nations such as the United States, Spain, Canada, and the United Kingdom, which require a negative test as an entry requirement.
Alejandro Araya, the deputy prosecutor of Alajuela, affirmed then that in several of the cases processed in the Juan Santamaría, crude evidence has been detected.
Araya explained that there were those who downloaded a template from an Internet page and then tried to fill it with false information and “timbres” (stamps).
Last Friday, model and television presenter Natalia Carvajal was arrested after presenting a false test of covid-19 when she tried to leave the country. A case was opened against her for the use of a false document, but she managed to free herself from it by applying the suspension of the trial process, an alternative mechanism offered by the Criminal Procedure Code.
Testing is key
To reduce the incidence of these illicit activities, the CMQC requests from the complainants they provide evidence such as photos, publications on social networks, stationery, or brochures, to proceed with the investigation and verification, to finally make it known to the Ministry of Health.
As part of the guidelines for the protection of public health, the CMQC recalled that both the covid-19 tests as well as other tests, ie blood, urine, feces, and others, should only be done in clinical laboratories authorized by the College and authorized by the Ministry of Health.
The CMQC has the responsibility of supervising not only clinical laboratories but also Blood Banks, Specialized Laboratories (pharmaceutical, industrial, medical devices, quality control), Water and Food Laboratories and commercial establishments.