At least 25 used coronavirus or COVID-19 testing swabs were mistakenly given to the students as part of a local collection service. Seven households located in Selly Oak, Birmingham received the used kits as part of the council's 'drop and collect' service on Tuesday. The students were concerned that they had contracted the deadly disease after they opened the swab tests to find the sealed bags were inside. Few of their bags had names and addresses written on the plastic.

Birmingham City Council conducted the probe overnight and stated that there was no evidence of cross-contamination, as reported by the BBC. A spokesperson mentioned that the error involved seven houses and only the outer packaging of a kit was opened.

Used Testing Swabs Given

Nasopharynx swab
Representational Picture Wikimedia Commons

The swabs were given out as a part of the city's 'drop and collect' scheme targeted to increase testing in areas having high rates of coronavirus cases. Under the service, the volunteers go to the houses and offer tests on the doorstep before returning an hour later for collecting the coronavirus test kits.

Around 100 military personnel are currently working with the Birmingham City Council on the scheme but have given the confirmation not to be involved in the fault. The news of the mistake came out when a Birmingham University student warned about the errors on a Facebook page. "Anyone on [Tiverton road] given a Covid test by guys in high-vis jackets, don't open!. They've already been done - we opened up the box and they were sealed and snapped so had obviously been used!", she wrote.

Another student named Sophie Dunne told the university paper, Redbrick many students alerted the volunteers about the error. She stated that they were asked not to put it on social media. She mentioned the officials returned five minutes later for collecting the tests but not until one kit had got opened already by her housemate. Birmingham is currently under the second tier of the new three-tier lockdown system, which started all over England. The city has 167.4 coronavirus cases per 100,000.