Leading Covid testing firm 'dumping returned test kits in bin while issuing fit-to-fly certificates to customers'

Leading Covid testing firm 'dumping returned test kits in bin while issuing fit-to-fly certificates to customers'

July 16, 2021

A LEADING testing company has been accused of dumping thousands of returned Covid tests in the bin while issuing fit-to-fly certificates to customers.

RT Diagnostics has advertised the government-approved test kits for up to £79.

But a Sun investigation has uncovered claims that many of the tests are simply left lying around in boxes without being processed.

The Halifax-based firm is understood to be receiving as many as 10,000 per day as holidaymakers snap up the tests, which legally they need to let them go abroad.

One family said they received negative results for a Day 8 test before the date they were due.

And a shocked worker at the firm, claimed: “The staff are not testing all the samples but people are being told their results are negative. This is very serious.

“Their customers could be spreading the virus around completely unaware.”

Last night former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt demanded an urgent probe.

He said: “This is shocking and also highly dangerous in the battle against Covid. There needs to be an immediate investigation and, if appropriate, charges brought.”

Shocking video footage filmed by a whistle-blower appears to show thousands of testing kits piled high in cardboard boxes and dumped to one side without being opened. 

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The worker claimed: “They’re then put in black plastic bags and dumped at the back of the offices.

“At one point the back looked like a landfill site, there were that many bags. It’s appalling.”

Customers have told how they were left chasing their results for days before being sent certificates. 

And staff handling the sensitive tests were filmed not wearing any personal protective equipment before tossing the tubes into boxes. 

Action Fraud — which works with the police — said it had received complaints about the firm, run by Labour councillor Faisal Shoukat. 

In total, the agency has sent 33 reports from customers of potential fake Covid test certificates to the Cabinet Office for review, although it is not clear how many relate to Mr Shoukat’s firm. 

Furious customers have set up a Facebook page with 450 members to share their complaints.

Shocking video footage filmed by a whistleblower appears to show thousands of testing kits piled high in cardboard boxes and dumped to one side without being opened

Natalie Barber wrote online: “Very very concerning. I’ve sent off Day 2 test and have had a negative result. When checking they’ve also given us a negative result for Day 8 even though Day 8 (result) isn’t due to be sent till Saturday???”

Tammy Ablitt said: “We used RT Diagnostic recently and there’s no way they could have received our Day 5 and Day 8 Covid tests as quickly as they gave us the results. Luckily, we were testing ourselves with NHS Covid tests at home to make sure we were Covid free.”

Deglan Holland added: “The certificates themselves have no reference to the test samples and each one has the same document ID.”

Arianna Valentino claimed she got a negative Covid certificate just hours after registering her sample online. She told The Sun: “It left me confused. It was very strange.” In a major loophole, private test providers do not need to be accredited to operate.

They can fill out a written application which gives them permission to operate for four months before they can apply for full accreditation.

RT Diagnostics was set up by Mr Shoukat, 34, in April.

Although it has been acting legally, the UK Accreditation Service said the firm has never been a UKAS-accredited body. It added: “They are no longer listed on the Department of Health and Social Care website as a private provider.”

Tony Cooke, of Cambridge Clinical Laboratories, said dozens of “pop-up labs” have been created amid a rise in summer holiday bookings. There are 400 approved providers on the government’s website but only six private labs are fully approved for Covid testing.

He warned: “Anyone could pop up, do tens of thousands of tests and disappear.”

The Sun confronted Mr Shoukat with the list of allegations. He said “Turning up like this out of the blue is bang out of order. Have you got evidence?

“I would be very, very careful about what you’re saying because that’s not what we are doing. This is bang out of order.”


Papers ‘cooked up’

DOUBTFUL Joanna Szymbor is convinced RT Diagnostics sent her a dodgy certificate for her mum. Joanna, 37, above, reckoned they were “cooking up” papers when they edited a form and re-sent it in seconds.

Her concerns arose after she ordered a Day 2 and a Day 8 test when her mum, Irene, flew in from Poland to visit. The first arrived — after six days — but the second did not.

Joanna, of Wolverhampton, rang and spoke to a woman who claimed the certificate was “on her desk” — but she sent Joanna a Fit to Fly document instead. Joanna, seen right with her daughter Harley, said: “I told her it was the wrong document and the lady said ‘OK, one second, I will edit it and send it again’. 

“Almost instantly another arrived by email and all she had done was edit a few boxes on Microsoft Word.”

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