Bio-hazard warning after truck carrying Covid-19 samples hijacked in Port Elizabeth

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A well being employee holds a throat swab to check Covid-19.


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  • A courier truck has been hijacked by armed robbers in Port Elizabeth and an unknown variety of Covid-19 specimens at the moment are lacking. 
  • The incident comes lower than a month after samples have been discovered dumped close to the N2 exterior East London.
  • Nationwide Well being Laboratory Providers has warned the criminals and the general public to not contact the bio-hazard specimens. 

A courier truck carrying Covid-19 specimens was hijacked in Port Elizabeth within the Japanese Cape on Monday – and the samples are lacking.

The Nationwide Well being Laboratory Providers has warned the robbers and the general public to not contact the samples, saying they could be extremely infectious.

NHLS supervisor within the province Tabita Makula mentioned individuals who come throughout the specimens “should urgently name our Port Elizabeth NHLS workplace on 041 395 6158”.

Makula mentioned the pathology providers institute was nonetheless counting the variety of the stolen specimen as a way to set up how many individuals they would want to contact for retesting.   

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The unknown variety of bio-hazard samples have been contained in 40-litre cooler packing containers with ice tubes, mentioned Makula.

“The cooler packing containers had ice packs for the needs of preserving the samples in cool temperatures. We will affirm that the truck was commissioned by us to gather samples in our services within the space.”


The incident has created a backlog.

“As a consequence of this hijacking, the truck couldn’t proceed to gather [samples] from different clinics,” Makula mentioned.

Port Elizabeth police spokesperson Colonel Priscila Naidu mentioned a case of hijacking and theft is beneath investigation.

Naidu mentioned the courier truck was allegedly hijacked exterior a clinic in Motherwell at 15.30.

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Naidu mentioned: “It’s alleged that at about 15:30, a courier firm was on the clinic parking space in NU11 when the driving force and the passenger have been held at gunpoint. The unknown suspects demanded the keys of the car and drove away. No pictures [were] fired. The victims have been additionally robbed of their private belongings.”

She mentioned the truck was later discovered deserted 500 metres from the hijack scene behind Siqwane Road in NU 11.

“Police investigation is constant,” mentioned Naidu. 

Makula mentioned NHLS was shocked by the most recent incident which occurred lower than a month after specimens have been discovered by a jogger dumped on the N2 roadside exterior East London on 29 June.


The courier firm concerned within the earlier incident admitted that the 80 samples fell by way of the bakkie’s open canvas cowl.

The corporate was later fired for negligence and danger to human life.

It was sacked on orders of well being minister Dr Zweli Mkhize following public outrage.

Within the newest incident Makula mentioned the driving force of the truck was with a brand new worker  whom he was coaching find out how to do the job and instructing him the routes.

“The robbers took the cellphones of the 2 drivers,” mentioned Makula.

Based on Algoa FM Information, the truck’s battery and the spare wheel have been additionally stolen.

“We’re nonetheless investigating the incident and attempting to get all the main points,” Makula added.