Opposition Spokesman on Health Dr Morais Guy has warned of a possible scam involving fake COVID-19 test results for the gold standard PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test with results being returned in an astonishing eight minutes in some instances.
Guy suggested that persons seeking out such tests are those needing to travel overseas and therefore need to present a negative test for the novel coronavirus.
Guy sounded the alarm while responding to a statement from the Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton, in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
He noted that there was an arm of the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce that validates the laboratories that offer COVID-19 tests in Jamaica.
“But are you aware minister, that there are many offerings of these test kits around that do not comply with it (standards) but they have been utilised for airline travel”? Guy asked.
The St Mary Central Member of Parliament told the House that he personally saw a test kit result for a person who was traveling to Canada with a turnaround time for the result that was too short. Typically, the results of a PCR test are available within 24 hours and up to a few days in some instances.
“And he (the traveler to Canada) went to a particular physician who had a PCR test done and I enquired of him how long it took to get back the result and he said eight to ten minutes,” Guy shared.
He said he asked the individual to send him a screenshot of the test “and it had on it PCR test”.
“This is what is happening out there and interestingly, there is no system in place for that to be controlled, for that to be arrested,” Guy noted.
When asked by a Government MP what he did after being made aware of the unusually quick turnaround time for the PCR test, Guy said he reported the matter to the relevant authority “As it would be a dereliction of my duty as a physician who, having seen that, did not. And I did”.
Responding, Tufton insisted that the methods of testing for COVID-19 in Jamaica are clearly outlined.