The Thane Police arrested a swab sticks supplier on Thursday, May 6, for allegedly storing the sticks in an unhygienic condition.
A video of swab sticks used to collect nasal, and throat samples for COVID-19 testing being packed in unhygienic conditions at a slum in Maharashtra's Thane district had gone viral this week.
Manish Keswani, the accused, owns a godown in the slum and stocked the packing material in it. He had hired labour from the households in the slum.
The video showed women and children packing swab sticks without adhering to COVID-19 guidelines. They did not have their masks or gloves on. It also showed sticks lying on the floor mat and children handling them with bare hands. Women were being paid ₹20 for packing 1,000 swabs in plastic packs, according to NDTV.
Keswani's arrest comes a day after officials from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation, and police visited Sant Gyaneshwar Nagar in Ulhasnagar. They recovered a few swab stick packets from the households, reported The New Indian Express.
Pravin Mundada, Joint Commissioner (Drugs), said that an inspection by his team showed that Keswani's kits were not used by the municipal corporation, labs or hospitals in Ulhasnagar.
"Keswani has been detained, and his questioning will give us further leads about the supply chain," The Indian Express quoted Suresh Mekhla, who additional charge of Thane Police Commissioner, as saying. Keswani has not received a licence from the Maharashtra FDA to manufacture swab sticks.
On Thursday, the FDA and the police inspected Keswani's godown-cum-office in Ulhasnagar and did not find any indication of viral transport media (VTM) tube being manufactured. A VTM tube is a tube into which the patient's nasal and oral sample is deposited into.
Also Read: Jharkhand Man Delivers Ration, Medicines To COVID Patients Under Home Isolation