The Netherlands becomes the latest country after Spain and the Czech Republic to claim Chinese medical supplies are defective.
New Delhi| The Dutch government has ordered a recall of around 600,000 Chinese masks out of a shipment of 1.3 million after they failed to meet quality standards.
The defective masks had already been distributed to several hospitals currently battling the COVID-19 outbreak, news agency AFP and Dutch media reported. The Dutch Health Ministry has kept the rest of the shipment on hold.
An inspection revealed that the FFP2 masks did not protect the face properly or had defective filter membranes. The fine filters stop the virus from entering the mouth or nose. The masks failed more than one inspection.
“A second test also revealed that the masks did not meet the quality norms. Now it has been decided not to use any of this shipment,” said the health ministry said in a statement to news agency AFP.
The masks were delivered to the Netherlands by a Chinese manufacturer on March 21. The Health Ministry said it would conduct extra testing on any future shipments.
Spain also purchased 9,000 ineffective Chinese rapid test kits, a Spanish official confirmed on Thursday.
Earlier Thursday, Spanish daily El Pais reported that the tests Spain had purchased from the Chinese company Shenzhen Bioeasy Biotechnology were only able to detect the virus in 30% of the cases.
“With this number, it doesn’t make sense to use these tests,” an anonymous source that used the tests told El Pais, adding that tests should at least have an 80% level of sensitivity.
When asked about the useless tests in a press conference, Fernando Simon, Spain’s director of emergency health services, said the country has procured rapid COVID-19 tests from a variety of suppliers.
“A company sent an initial batch of 9,000 tests… it was shown that the specifications of this batch of tests did not correspond to the quality certificates. So, we returned that batch of tests. The company will exchange them for another type of test,” Simon said.
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Minutes before Simon’s statement, the Chinese Embassy in Spain tweeted that the company Shenzhen Bioeasy Biotechnology had still not obtained an official license from China’s National Administration of Medical Products.
The embassy added that none of the donations from China or Alibaba to Spain has included that company’s products.
On Wednesday, Spain also announced it had secured a €432 million ($472 million) deal with China to bring in more protective equipment, tests and ventilators.
In response to the reports, the Chinese embassy claimed on Twitter Thursday (March 26) that Shenzhen Bioeasy Biotechnology is not on its list of “approved suppliers.” The Spanish health ministry later issued a statement in which it said that the test kits had been acquired through a supplier in Spain, which had imported them from China, reported La Prensa Latina.
Earlier in the week on Monday (March 23), a Czech news site revealed that 80 per cent of the traunch of COVID-19 rapid test kits “donated” from China are faulty, forcing healthcare workers to continue relying on conventional laboratory tests. On Sunday (March 22), a Malaysian blogger debunked claims that the 10 million surgical face masks being shipped to Malaysia from China are free.
German Health Minister Jens Spahn on Wednesday was cited by The New York Times as saying that he is being flooded by hundreds of emails requesting rapid tests from China, but he said that the Chinese tests are simply not accurate enough.
(Inputs from Agencies)