European countries reject Chinese-made face masks.


Chinese medical equipment rejected by many European governments amidst coronavirus outbreak.

Thousands of testing kits and medical masks were inspected and determined as below standard or defective, according to authorities in Turkey, the Netherlands and Spain. This was frustrating for all parties, with coronavirus outbreak slowly increasing once again across the world.

There are reported hundreds of thousands of cases of coronavirus amongst all of Europe, confirming that masks and equipment are growing all the more essential. More than 10,000 people have died in Italy since the outbreak began.

The virus was first detected in China at the end of 2019 and although the government implemented strict lockdown measures to bring it under control, it appears they have not succeeded in eliminating the coronavirus.


Why is the equipment being turned away?

The equipment had arrived from a Chinese manufacturer and had already been distributed to front-line medical teams before the Dutch health ministry announced it had recalled 600,000 face masks.

Dutch officials claimed that the masks did not fit at all and that their filters did not work as they were advertised, even though they had a quality certificate. A statement read, "The rest of the shipment was immediately put on hold and has not been distributed. Now it has been decided not to use any of this shipment.”

Another country which was left with similar problems with testing kits ordered from a Chinese company was Spain. In attempts to combat the virus, they purchased hundreds of thousands of masks, but it was revealed in the following days that nearly 60,000 could not accurately determine if a patient had the virus.

To make matters more alarming, the Chinese embassy in Spain announced through twitter that Shenzhen Bioeasy Biotechnology, the company behind the kits, did not have an official license from Chinese medical authorities to sell its products, clarifying that separate material donated by the Chinese government and technology and retail group Alibaba did not include products from Shenzhen Bioeasy.

Turkey also announced that it had discovered a similar fate to Spain and the Netherlands. Some testing kits ordered from Chinese companies were not sufficiently accurate and ruled as not safe for use, although it said that some 350,000 of the tests worked well and according to plan. Critics warned China could be using the coronavirus outbreak to further its influence, leading to allegations of defective equipment.

EU chief diplomat Josep Borrell warned that there is “a geo-political component including a struggle for influence through spinning and the ‘politics of generosity’” In a blog post last week.  “China is aggressively pushing the message that, unlike the US, it is a responsible and reliable partner,” he wrote. "Equipped with facts, we need to defend Europe against its detractors."