A Truck Carrying ‘Highly Infectious COVID19 Samples’ Was Hijacked In South Africa Prompting A Biohazard Warning

truck robbery

iStockphoto / passigatti

A truck carrying coolers full of ‘highly infectious’ COVID19 samples was hijacked in Port Elizabeth, South Africa was hijacked this week which prompted a biohazard warning from the local government urging people to not touch the samples and to ‘most urgently’ call the Port Elizabeth NHLS office with any available information.

If I had to rank the various types of cargo trucks to hijack from best to worst I’d probably rank ‘truck full of Pappy Van Winkle, Lottery Tickets, and Steakhouse Ribeyes’ as the best possible truck you could commandeer right now with ‘truck carrying 40-liter coolers of COVID-19 samples’ as the worst possible option of trucks to hijack on the planet right now.

Reading through this story on News24 all I can think about is that moment in Austin Powers when he was all ‘honestly, man, who throws a shoe?’ because honestly, man, who in their right mind hijacks a truck carrying extremely hazardous samples of COVID-19?

A courier truck carrying Covid-19 specimens was hijacked in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape on Monday – and the samples are missing. The National Health Laboratory Services has warned the robbers and the public not to touch the samples, saying they may be highly infectious. NHLS manager in the province Tabita Makula said people who come across the specimens “must urgently call our Port Elizabeth NHLS office on 041 395 6158”. Makula said the pathology services institute was still counting the number of the stolen specimen in order to establish how many people they would need to contact for retesting. The unknown number of bio-hazard samples were contained in 40-litre cooler boxes with ice tubes, said Makula.

“The cooler boxes had ice packs for the purposes of keeping the samples in cool temperatures. We can confirm that the truck was commissioned by us to collect samples in our facilities in the area.” The incident has created a backlog. “Due to this hijacking, the truck could not proceed to collect [samples] from other clinics,” Makula said. Port Elizabeth police spokesperson Colonel Priscila Naidu said a case of hijacking and theft is under investigation. Naidu said the courier truck was allegedly hijacked outside a clinic in Motherwell at 15.30. (via News24)

The report says the driver and passenger were held at gunpoint, robbed of their personal belongings, the COVID-19 samples are now missing, but the truck was found only 500-meters away from where the incident happened.

Armed robbers stealing coronavirus samples from a truck is quite different than crazy monkeys stealing coronavirus blood samples in India but there’s still this alarming trend of coronavirus samples not making it to its required destination, a trend I’d really REALLY like to see stop.