Sweden’s Public Health Agency has announced that many COVID-19 test kits they received from China contained thousands of false positives during routine checks.
According to Reuters, these kits that were made in China were found to contain false positives in two different laboratories and have been distributed countries around the world:
About 3,700 people in Sweden were told in error that they had the coronavirus due to a fault in a COVID-19 testing kit from China, the Public Health Agency said on Tuesday.
The kit from BGI Genomics could not distinguish between very low levels of the virus and a negative result, the agency said.
“The supplier must adjust the performance that is required for this test to be used,” Karin Tegmark Wisell, the head of its microbiology department, said.
The test kit has been widely exported to other countries, she added, but could not give further details.
Sweden’s Public Health Agency has given the information about the false positive kids to European authorities.
BGI Genomics is one of the two subsidiaries on the U.S. economic blacklist due to the implications of human rights violations involving the Uighurs currently being imprisoned by China according to Reuters.
Experts believe that though the false positives discovered number in the thousands it only “marginally affected statistics on infections.”
Sweden is currently enjoying a low infection rate due to its herd-immunity approach. According to Market Watch, Sweden’s numbers are lower than many European countries with stricter lockdowns.
“Strict rules do not work as people seem to break them. Sweden is doing fine,” said Arne Elofsson, a professor in biometrics at Stockholm University.
“Now there are quite a few people who think we were right,” said Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. “The strategy that we adopted, I believe is right — to protect individuals, limit the spread of the infection.”
The numbers are proving Sweden’s leaders right according to Market Watch:
Data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control show Sweden has a fortnightly infection rate of 37 cases per 100,000 people. This is much lower than France, with 60 cases per 100,000 and Spain at 152.7 cases per 100,000.
Admittedly, Sweden’s death rate is the ninth highest in the world with 57.08 Covid-related deaths per 100,000, however, there’s been a good deal of speculation if these numbers are right due to how the deaths were recorded inaccurately.
As my colleague Michael Thau covered earlier this month, Sweden’s death rate is a bit exaggerated. It was found that Sweden’s method of counting COVID deaths were about as inaccurate and inflated as America’s.
“Sweden systematically checks the list of people who have tested positive for the virus against the population register,” wrote Johan Norberg. “Every time the government discovers that someone who had the virus has died, that person is registered as a COVID-19 death if it happened within 30 days of the diagnosis.”
Meaning they could have died in a car accident or of a heart attack and it would have counted as a COVID death.
It’s unclear how many false positives were distributed out to the world from China at this time.