Four persons arrested over sale of unauthorized COVID-19 test kits in Cebu

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 28) — Authorities arrested four persons in Cebu province over the alleged sale of illegal COVID-19 test kits.

The National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas (NBI-7) said the suspects sold unregistered antigen test kits to buyers across social media platforms. They were caught red-handed in two separate entrapment operations in the cities of Cebu and Mandaue on Jan. 25 and 26.

Some 200 boxes of Chinese brands "Clungene" and "Joinstar" rapid antigen test kits — equivalent to about ₱1-million — were also seized, the bureau said. Such brands are not licensed for public sale.

The NBI-7 said it believes "rampant" sale of unauthorized COVID-19 test kits is happening on social media, so it made arrangements with the suspects to access messaging threads.

It said it is “intensifying its campaign against illegal sellers and profiteers of COVID-19 related and unregistered pharmaceutical products and test kits.”

Just last week, the Bureau of Customs seized ₱150 million worth of fake antigen test kits, Lianhua Chinese herbal medicines, and N95 face masks in an unidentified warehouse in Manila owned by a Chinese national.

CNN Philippines' stringer Dale Israel contributed to this report.