Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday ordered relevant ministries, institutions and authorities nationwide to cooperate with prosecutors to immediately seize any unregistered COVID-19 test kits and medicines being sold in the market, as well as apprehend the sellers, to protect the public welfare.
“These [unregistered testing kits] have to be seized immediately. Even if we do not have a law for this action yet, the illegal products must be seized especially since they have not been approved by the World Health Organization. It has to be done to prevent the people from suffering further during this pandemic,” he said.
In a press release yesterday, Health Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said many COVID-19 rapid test kits have already been produced in the market. However, she said none of these have received the approval of the WHO, adding that the kits are unreliable.
“The effectiveness of the rapid test kits is very low. The people who contracted COVID-19 tested negative, while those without COVID-19 tested positive. So, these are very dangerous,” she said.
The Health Ministry’s statement was issued after several online sellers on Facebook advertised the unregistered test kits, with a small number of people administering the tests on themselves.
“Anyone who sells or promotes the COVID-19 rapid test kits without permission from the Ministry of Health will be punished accordingly. The ministry would like to call on relevant authorities to participate in enforcing legal action against anyone who fails to comply with the order,” warned Ms Vandine.
Lieutenant General Chhay Kim Khoeun, the spokesman for the National Police, said: “National Police chief General Neth Savoeun already disseminated the order for police forces nationwide to immediately search and seize such materials. People caught distributing the materials will be arrested.”
On Saturday, around 20,000 COVID-19 test kits donated by the Jack Ma and Alibaba Foundations arrived in the Kingdom to help in the fight against the coronavirus. The handover ceremony was presided over by Health Minister Mam Bun Heng and Chinese Ambassador Wang Wentian.