COVID-19: Netherlands orders to retract 'defective' Chinese masks from hospitals

Cheryl Sanders
April 1, 2020

The equipment had arrived from a Chinese manufacturer on 21 March, and had already been distributed to front-line medical teams. The Dutch Health Ministry has kept the rest of the shipment on hold.

The recall concerned almost half of the shipment of 1.3 million masks, known as FFP2, the public television channel NOS reported.

"A second test also proved that the face masks did not meet the required quality standards". The problem is the masks did not fit and that their filters did not work in a proper way, even though they had a quality certificate. The recall concerns 600,000 masks, state broadcaster NOS said.

Asked about the possibility that a shipment of personal protection equipment coming from china might be faulty, Prime Minister Trudeau said Health Canada will evaluate the equipment before it is distributed.

Several countries are sending imported medical supplies back to China after they were reportedly found defective.

"It is hoped that this isolated incident will not affect the friendly cooperation between the two countries in the fight against the pandemic".

Spain announced on Thursday that it would return 640,000 rapid testing kits it had purchased from a Chinese company after tests on a batch already imported had found them to have a 30% detection rate. The Chinese embassy later said the firm was not on its list of certified suppliers.

The Netherlands now has over 9,700 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

In a statement, Shenzhen Bioeasy Biotechnology said that the incorrect results may have resulted from "various factors such as the patient's disease course, sampling location, and sampling accuracy", but that the "specific reasons are still being communicated and verified by both parties". Chinese companies have kicked into overdrive to supply masks, respirators, testing kits and other protective gear to tackle the global pandemic.

Medical professionals in the Czech Republic have also said that rapid tests from China were not working properly.

Thousands of testing kits and medical masks are below standard or defective, according to authorities in Spain, Turkey and the Netherlands.

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