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Used coronavirus swab kits handed to students in Birmingham

Jimmy Nsubuga
·2-min read
RAF personnel in Selly Oak, close to the University of Birmingham, assisting with Birmingham City Council's 'Drop and Collect' coronavirus test distribution, as the local authority attempt to stem the rise of cases in the area.
RAF personnel assisting with Birmingham City Council's drop and collect coronavirus test distribution (Picture: PA)

Used coronavirus swab kits have been accidentally handed to students in Birmingham.

Several of the second-hand kits were distributed in Selly Oak during a drop and collect service on Tuesday, the council confirmed.

Students from Birmingham University were shocked when they opened the packs and discovered the tests had already been used.

One of them wrote on Facebook community page: “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!”

Birmingham currently has 167.4 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people and has been put in Tier 2 of restrictions under the government’s new three-tier localised lockdown system.

RAF personnel in Selly Oak, close to the University of Birmingham, assisting with Birmingham City Council's 'Drop and Collect' coronavirus test distribution, as the local authority attempt to stem the rise of cases in the area.
The drop and collect service is part of an attempt to stem the rise of cases in the area. (PA)

Birmingham City Council apologised for the mistake and said an investigation revealed there had been no cross-contamination.

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 (13th Oct).

“As soon as it became apparent that the wrong tests had been given out 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 100,000 tests being undertaken to date.

“The circumstances around this incident are being fully reviewed and any required changes to process will be implemented.”

Watch: How to do a coronavirus self-swab test

On Monday, Boris Johnson confirmed that England was entering a new three-tier local lockdown system.

Areas that were previously under local restrictions, such as Birmingham, have been placed in the “high” Tier 2.

In this group, household mixing is banned indoors. However, the “rule of six”, which allows social gatherings of up to six people, will still apply outdoors.

The prime minister has so far resisted a short “circuit breaker” lockdown for all of England but said at PMQs on Wednesday that he ruled nothing out.

Johnson, responding to Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s demand for a temporary national lockdown, said he would stick to his tier system localised approach.

Starmer’s call for a circuit breaker was supported on Wednesday by a study from some of Johnson’s scientific advisers that found such a move could save thousands of lives.

Watch: How will England's three-tier local lockdown system work?

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