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Private laboratory in Kerala issued fake Covid-19 negative reports, did not test most of the samples collected

Recently, the RT-PCR certificates from the Kozhikode lab were rejected the Dubai Aviation authorities.

In a shocking news coming from the state of Kerala, a private lab was reported to be issuing fake Covid-19 negative reports. The private lab called Arma laboratory in Valanchery area of Malappuram district earned Rs 45 lakh by issuing the fake negative reports, as reported by Times of India.

Arma Laboratory is a franchise of Kozhikode based laboratory approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). As per the report, only 496 samples our of total 2,500 swab samples taken by the laboratory were sent to the parent lab in Kozhikode for testing. As per the information provided by Valenchery police, the lab issued fake Covid-19 negative certificates to the people whose samples were not sent by the lab to Kozhikode lab for testing.

Police said that guidelines for sample collections was not followed by the lab. One of the employees even stated that the samples of many people were collected in a single test tube.

The Dubai Aviation authorities had recently informed airlines about rejecting the RT-PCR certificates issued by the Kzhikode lab which resulted in around 200 people being unable to fly to Dubai from Calicut and Kannur Airports on Monday. The Arma lab lacks the necessary authorisation to collect samples and send it to the Kozhikode lab for testing. According to reports, the lab destroyed the samples for which Covid-19 negative certificates were issued.

Inspector MK Shaji, Valanchery police, said that computers from the lab were seized after complaints were received. “We have seized the computers from Arma lab after receiving complaints about the issue of fake Covid-19 test certificates. We found that the data from the computers was deleted. We were able to retrieve the data with the help of cyber cell and came to know the lab collected 2,500 samples”, he said. Inspector Shaji said that police came to know about the fake negative reports from there only.

The lab was closed by police on 15th September following allegations of fake certificates, after people with negative report the lab tested positive in tests done elsewhere. After that, police had scrutinised the records of the lab which revealed the extent of the fraud. Police was unable to arrest the owner of the lab as he is undergoing treatment for coronavirus.

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