Fake coronavirus test kits seized at LAX

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Officers seized counterfeit coronavirus test kits at Los Angeles International Airport, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Saturday.

A package arrived at LAX from the United Kingdom and was labeled “Purified Water Vials,” according to a CBP news release.

Fake coronavirus test kits are seen in photos released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection after they were seized at Los Angeles International Airport on March 12, 2020.
Fake coronavirus test kits are seen in photos released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection after they were seized at Los Angeles International Airport on March 12, 2020.

Officers were examining the package Thursday when they found six plastic bags containing vials filled with a white liquid and labeled “Corona Virus 2019nconv (COVID-19)” and “Virus1 Test Kit” inside.

CBP director of field operations in L.A. Carlos Martel said it was a “significant interception, at a time when the U.S. is in the midst of a National Emergency.”

Authorities did not provide information on where the vials were headed.

The shipment was turned over to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for analysis.

Testing for the novel coronavirus can only be conducted at verified laboratories across the United States and the kits would not be available for purchase online or at brick and mortar shops.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide COVID-19 test kits to public health laboratories across the country and the FDA provides them to commercial labs, according to the CDC.

“The American public should be aware of bogus home testing kits for sale either online or in informal direct to consumer settings,” CBP said in the news release.

On Friday Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer and county District Attorney Jackie Lacey warned residents of false advertisements for fake coronavirus cures, treatments and vaccines.

The officials promised to crack down on scams and close down fraudulent businesses.

L.A. County residents were encouraged to call 213-978-8340 to report scams or price gouging.

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