Be Careful, Illegal Coronavirus Test Kits Are Being Sold Online!


Coronavirus rapid self-testing kits are being advertised on a Chinese social media platform in Australia promising results in as little as 15 minutes as the country grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the Government's latest move to loosen the criteria for testing, online sellers in the Chinese-Australian community are trying to capitalise on buyers wanting to fast-track their testing.

One Australia-based seller, who only wants to be known as Lily, runs an online business on WeChat, a Chinese social media platform with about 3 million users in Australia.

In addition to rapid COVID-19 testing kits, she also sells coveted items including surgical masks, KF94 respiratory protective masks and disinfectant sprays.

The advertisement on WeChat

Lily told the ABC there was a huge demand in the community and she sold the kits for $59 each.

"To get a test in the hospital, you have to meet certain criteria. [By using the kit at home], you don't have to increase the risk of getting infected by going to the hospital."

Another Australia-based seller, who only wishes to be known as Allen, told the ABC he had seen many other people selling these kits on WeChat and he was trying to bulk sell 15-minute rapid tests for COVID-19 to GP clinics and pharmacies.

He said a friend of his claimed to be working for a Therapeutic Goods Administration-approved Chinese manufacturer and had approached him to open up "private channels" to expand their sales.

"I have a lot of people that have asked me about the products [after I posted the advertisement]," he said.

However, supplying self-testing kits is illegal in Australia and is also not permitted in mainland China, and it's unclear just how many self-test kits have been sold to buyers.

"The supply of self-tests or at-home tests for most serious infectious diseases, including self-tests for COVID-19, is prohibited under the Therapeutic Goods (Excluded Purposes) Specification 2010," a Department of Health spokesperson told the ABC.

China's National Medical Products Administration quickly debunked the rumours of self-testing and claimed no authorised at-home test kits were allowed.

In a statement on their website, the administration said the rapid diagnostic products for the coronavirus should "only be used as a supplementary detection indicator for suspected cases" and "for medical institutions only".

China's Xinhua News Agency last month also warned Chinese citizens not to buy so called self-testing kits online, adding the "improper handling of used testing equipment may also bring public health risks".