Guatemalans outraged by fake COVID-19 tests

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GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Lawmakers and rights official in Guatemala called Monday for an investigation into 30,000 fake COVID-19 tests that were bought by public health officials.

The 30,000 tests and testing materials cost the Central American country's Health Ministry almost $1 million, but were found to be unreliable.

Jordán Rodas, the head of the country's human rights agency, said Monday “it is inconceivable that in the midst of a humanitarian crisis there is corruption in even the purchase of COVID-19 tests.”

A private Guatemala company says it bought the tests from a U.S. firm, which denies having sold them.

Edwin Asturias, the former had of pandemic efforts in Guatemala, asked in his Twitter account how many people might have relied on a false negative from the tests and unwittingly infected others.

Health Minister Amelia Flores has asked prosecutors to investigate representatives of the Guatemalan company and a former health official for possible fraud, perjury and other misdeeds.

Guatemala has had 171,289 coronavirus cases and 6,306 deaths.