The quarantining of 1,000 Spanish health care workers because they used faulty medical masks ordered from China has ripped the lid off a growing scandal of ineffective masks and COVID-19 tests being peddled by Chinese companies around the world.
The 400,000 masks bought from China were in use for 10 days before being recalled, Breitbart reports.
Some were worn by workers all day, but were effective only for 10 minutes, the General Council of Nursing Associations said.
Their plight is only the tip of an iceberg of faulty COVID-19 products shipped out by Chinese companies. Faulty test kits have flooded the international market, with Spain, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Turkey and Britain reporting flawed Chinese test kits. Malaysia is buying test kits from South Korea, and the Netherlands returned 600,000 faulty face masks to China. Australia has seized 800,000 faulty masks from China, the LA Times reports.
Dan Harris, an attorney whose firm Harris Bricken advises firms on Chinese sourcing, told the Times, “It’s a complete mess. A year ago, Chinese companies were fine. Now they’re desperate. So they’re selling bad product, fake product, and the whole world is buying those products.”
Renaud Anjoran, a Hong Kong supply chain auditor, told the Times, “Everybody is jumping on this market and they have zero understanding of quality. But these are high-risk items. If they don’t work, people might die.”
Even within China, the problem exists. In a March briefing, the government said they had seized over 80 million faulty masks and 370,000 faulty test kits, the Times reported.
The Chinese government has insisted the problem is that those ordering the masks did not understand instructions, Business Insider reports.
In a tweet, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote, "Masks of various category offer different levels of protection, for day-to-day use and for medical purposes. [Please] double-check the instructions to make sure that you ordered, paid for and distributed the right ones. Do not use non-surgical masks for surgical purposes."
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