A specimen vehicle containing COVID-19 samples was hijacked in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape. A bio-hazard warning has been issued to the public.
The National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS) confirmed that highly infectious COVID-19 samples were stolen along with the truck.
The community is asked to urgently report any sighting to the NHLS office on 041 395 6158.
The robbery means that the labs will have to retest a number of patients and NHLS is determining just how many samples were stolen.
NHLS says the samples were inside 40 litre cooler boxes with ice inside to keep them cool. The vehicle was commissioned to collect the samples on behalf of the lab.
A significant backlog has been created as a result of the incident. According to News24 the vehicle was unable to pick up additional samples it was on its way to collect when the incident occurred.
An investigation into the hijacking is underway.