Public warned against COVID-19 testing fraud

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 27) — The public is warned against individuals presenting themselves as employees of the Department of Health-Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and offering swabbing services.

In a statement on Wednesday, the RITM said, "The Institute was alerted of this illegal activity after receiving requests for verification of a total of 27 COVID-19 test results from various private companies and some Diseases Reporting Units (DRUs). Twenty of these fake results were reportedly used for travel, three for hotel accommodations, and four for other purposes."

The RITM stressed no agencies or third-party organizations or individuals were authorized to conduct such services on their behalf for a fee. There is also no fee for the release of official results, it added.

"The use of fake laboratory results poses a danger not only to individuals, but to their family, their workplace, and their community. When you go around without confirming your status, you are putting everyone around you at risk," RITM Director Celia Carlos said.

The RITM said an investigation revealed the test results submitted to them did now show up in their information system and the signatories were not affiliated with the institute. Certifications bearing the logo of the RITM were also discovered to be fake.

Carlos said they are now working with authorities to put an end to such activities.

"Additional security features have also been implemented to prevent misuse of our Institute's good name for personal profit and exploitation of public trust," she said.

To date, the country has logged 518,407 COVID-19 cases.