China floods European markets with defective protective equipment as coronavirus cases surge in the region
Many European countries have taken issues with the quality of medical masks and test kits being supplied by Chinese companies, with The Netherlands even recalling a shipment of masks made in that country
An increasing number of European countries are reporting that the medical equipment donated by or purchased from China to combat the deadly coronavirus spread are defective and unusable. The report comes at a time when coronavirus infections are rising at a rapid rate across the world, with over one million people infected and nearly 60,000 dead.
The shocking revelations about defective equipment are fueling distrust of Chinese President Xi Jinping's public relations bid to exhibit China as a new humanitarian superpower amid the world crisis.
The Netherlands, on March 28, recalled 1.3 million face masks produced by China after they did not meet the minimum safety standards for medical personnel. These masks, being sold as KN95, are a less expensive Chinese alternative to the standard N95 masks which are in short supply worldwide at the moment, including in the United States.
Reports state that the KN95 masks do not fit tightly on the face, like the N95 ones, increasing the possibility of medical personnel being exposed to the novel coronavirus. Dutch officials had already distributed over 500,000 of the KN95 masks to the country's hospitals before they were forced to recall the masks.
"When the masks were delivered to our hospital, I immediately rejected them," a hospital worker told the Dutch public broadcaster NOS. "If those masks do not seal properly, the virus particles can simply pass through. We cannot use them. They are unsafe for our people."
The Dutch Ministry of Health released a written statement, saying: "A first shipment from a Chinese manufacturer was partly delivered last Saturday. These are masks with a KN95 quality certificate. During an inspection, this shipment was found not to meet our quality standard. Part of this shipment had already been delivered to healthcare providers; the rest of the cargo was immediately withheld and not further distributed. A second test also showed that the masks did not meet our quality standards. It has now been decided that this entire shipment will not be used. New shipments will undergo additional tests."
The Netherlands is now reportedly left with only a few days' supplies of medical masks. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health in Spain revealed on March 26 that at least 640,000 coronavirus tests the government purchased from a China vendor were found defective. The tests manufactured by Shenzhen Bioeasy Biotechnology Company in Guangdong had an accuracy of less than 30 percent, reports state. Bioeasy, according to leaked documents, lied to the Spanish government about the accuracy, claiming the tests had 92 percent accurate detection rate, according to the Spanish newspaper El Mundo.
The French government, on March 28, announced that it had ordered over a billion face masks from China. It is not yet clear whether France's plans of purchasing the equipment will be hampered by the quality control issues being faced by other European countries.
Other countries inlcuding the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Turkey, and Malaysia have also complained about being sold defected protective equipment by China. The deadly novel coronavirus is believed to have originated from the wet markets in Wuhan, China before it spread across the world.