Netherlands recalls hundreds of thousands of defective Chinese face masks

The Netherlands has recalled hundreds of thousands of face masks imported from China after they were found to be defective, the health ministry announced on Saturday.

Dutch authorities received 1.3 million face masks from China on March 21 and distributed some of them to hospitals and other health facilities battling against the spread of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

But the health ministry was notified upon inspection that “the quality of the shipment did not meet quality criteria”.

The masks, whose KN95 certification indicates that they should filter above 95% of particles, have defective filter membranes.

“A second test also revealed that the masks did not meet the quality norms. Now it has been decided not to use the shipment,” the health ministry said in a statement to AFP.

According to state broadcaster NOS, the recall concerns 600,000 masks.

The Netherlands has so far reported 9,800 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and 632 deaths.

It is not the only country to have imported defective medical equipment from China to tackle the disease.

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 government stressed that the kits were CE certified — indicating conformity with European standards — and that they had been purchased through a Spanish intermediary.

The Chinese embassy in Madrid said on Twitter however that Shenzen Bioeasy Biotechnology, the kits’ manufacturer, had not been officially licenced by the country’s authorities to sell medical products.

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Embajada de China en España@ChinaEmbEsp
to @ChinaEmbEsp
2⃣ La compra de materiales sanitarios anunciada por @sanidadgob está en curso y los materiales no han salido de #China aún. El Ministerio de Comercio de China ofreció a #España una lista de proveedores clasificados, en la cual Shenzhen Bioeasy Biotechnology no estaba incluida.

Embajada de China en España@ChinaEmbEsp
3⃣ Shenzhen Bioeasy Biotechnology no ha conseguido todavía la licencia oficial de la Administración Nacional de Productos Médicos de #China para vender sus productos.

Spain is the second hardest-hit country in the world after Italy having reported more than 73,000 confirmed cases and 5,900 deaths by Saturday.

The Turkish Health Minister also revealed during a press conference on Friday that rapid testing kits samples it had received from a Chinese company did not meet the country’s effectiveness standards and that another firm, also Chinese, had instead been selected to provide the kits.

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