World Indonesian firm busted for reusing Covid nasal swabs
Salvage effort under way for Indonesian submarine that sank with dozens aboard
The hunt for a missing Indonesian submarine with 53 crew turned into a salvage effort Sunday after recovered debris suggested it broke apart as it sank off the coast of Bali. Warships, planes and hundreds of military personnel had led a frantic search for the KRI Nanggala 402 since it disappeared this week during training exercises, hoping for a miracle rescue before its known oxygen reserves ran out. But the navy acknowledged Saturday that pieces of the submarine, including items from inside the vessel, had been retrieved.
Several employees of a pharmaceutical company have been arrested in Indonesia for allegedly washing and reselling used Covid nasal swab test kits.
Up to 9,000 passengers at an airport in Medan may have been tested with the reused swab sticks, say police.
State-owned company Kimia Farma is now reportedly facing a potential lawsuit launched on behalf of the travellers.
Covid nasal swab testing has become routine in many countries hit by the global pandemic.
Police said they believed the scam had been happening since last December at Kualanamu airport in Medan, North Sumatra.
Indonesia says missing submarine has been found broken into pieces deep in the ocean
"Based on the evidence, it can be stated that the KRI Nanggala has sunk and all of its crew have died," a military official stated definitively."We received underwater pictures that are confirmed as the parts of the submarine," Indonesian military chief Hadi Tjahjanto said. The photos were taken by an underwater robot deployed from a Singaporean vessel, according to the Associated Press.
Passengers are required to have a negative test if they want to fly, and the airport offers the option of getting the swabs done on site. Airport authorities had used antigen rapid test kits supplied by Kimia Farma.
Last week, five Kimia Farma employees including the company's Medan manager were arrested by the police. The suspects are accused of breaking health and consumer laws by washing nasal swab sticks and repackaging them for sale.
Local media report that authorities have compiled reports from 23 witnesses, and are investigating whether the profit from the scam - estimated to be around 1.8bn rupiah (£89,700; $124,800) - was used to fund the construction of a lavish house for one of the suspects.
Indonesia is promoting all 53 crew members of its missing submarine, who were declared dead when wreckage was found on the ocean floor
Indonesia on Sunday declared the KRI Nanggala 402 lost and all 53 crew members presumed dead. Photos show the crumpled remains.After a days-long search, Indonesian officials at the weekend declared the submarine lost, and said everyone on board was presumed dead. On Monday, the country honored the 53 with posthumous promotion.
Kimia Farma, which is headquartered in the capital Jakarta, has since fired the staff involved and promised to tighten internal controls.
This week, two lawyers who frequently flew via Kualanamu airport in recent months, said they were planning to sue Kimia Farma,
In a collective lawsuit, they hope to get 1 billion rupiah for each passenger who has been affected by the scheme.
Earlier this week, Indonesian authorities said they had identified two cases of the new Covid variant first seen in India.
Last month, Jakarta stopped issuing visas for foreigners who had been in India in the previous 14 days.
The Muslim-majority nation has also banned domestic travel at the end of Ramadan this month, a period which traditionally sees people travelling across the country to visit relatives, and introduced heightened restrictions for other dates.
Indonesia has seen one of the worst Covid outbreaks in Asia, and overall has recorded about 1.7m positive cases and more than 46,000 deaths linked to the pandemic.
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