Used Covid nasal swabs are handed out to students by military personnel as part of Birmingham council testing scheme
A council mistakenly handed out used coronavirus testing swab kits to students on their doorsteps as part of a ‘drop and collect’ service yesterday.
Those in Selly Oak, Birmingham are worried they may have contracted the disease after they opened the boxes to discover the tests were already ‘sealed and snapped.’
Birmingham City Council told the BBC there is ‘no evidence of cross-contamination’ to the 25 students who were given used kits.
The council carried out an investigation overnight and will now launch a ‘root and branch review’ into what happened.
RAF personnel in Selly Oak, close to the University of Birmingham, assisting with Birmingham City Council’s ‘Drop and Collect’ coronavirus test distribution
Birmingham City Council told the BBC there is ‘no evidence of cross-contamination’ to the 25 students who were given used kits
News of the error emerged on Tuesday when a Birmingham University student warned others on a community Facebook page about the mistake.
She wrote: ‘Anyone on [Tiverton Road] given a Covid test by guys in high-vis jackets, don’t open!
‘They’ve already been done – we opened up the box and they were sealed and snapped so had obviously been used!’
Another student, Sophie Dunne, told university paper Redbrick several students emerged from their homes to alert council workers to the mistake.
She claims they were told ‘not to put it on social media.’
Ms Dunne said officials returned five minutes later to collect the Covid-19 tests, but not until after they had been opened by her housemate.
A council spokesperson said: ‘We are aware that a small number of tests were mistakenly given out during Drop and Collect activity in Selly Oak yesterday.
‘We want to reassure residents that none of these tests were reused and while the outer packaging on one was opened, the inner pack containing the swab remained sealed and secure so there is no risk of contamination.
‘The team was alerted within five minutes that the wrong tests had been given out and steps were taken immediately to rectify the mistake. Drop and Collect is a vital part of helping to tackle the spread of Covid in our city, with around 100,000 tests being undertaken to date.
‘The circumstances around this incident – which involved seven houses and 25 kits – is being fully reviewed and any required changes to process will be implemented.’