Rumor Buster: Does China-made protective gear have quality issues?

Source: Xinhua| 2020-04-15 15:57:31|Editor: huaxia

BEIJING, April 15 (Xinhua) -- Rumors that the medical supplies China has donated or exported to other countries have quality issues have turned out to come from misunderstanding and media hype.

The Finnish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment said Tuesday there's evidence of dereliction of duty by the National Emergency Supply Agency (NESA) in a COVID-19 protective gear purchase deal last week.

It had been established that purchase rules and the need to check the background of intermediaries who did business with NESA had been widely disregarded in the deals, Jari Gustafsson, permanent secretary of the ministry, said at Tuesday's press conference.

NESA said on April 8 that the a consignment of 2 million masks and 230,000 respirators purchased from China failed to meet Europe's quality standard for hospital use.

In response to the issue, Zhao Lijian, spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said a day later at a news conference that "the masks were purchased through commercial channels through intermediaries by the Finnish side and were declared for export to the Chinese customs in the name of non-surgical masks."

During a phone conversation on Tuesday with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, Chinese President Xi Jinping said China stands ready to continue exchanging experience in COVID-19 prevention and control with Finland and help the European country tackle such difficulties as its current shortage of medical supplies.

Niinisto conveyed his gratitude for China's precious support and help in supplying medical and anti-epidemic equipment, and expressed his hope of enhancing cooperation with China and overcoming the pandemic as soon as possible.

Rumors hyping inferior quality of face masks from China had also emerged in the Netherlands, Spain, and the Czech Republic, and were all proven to be contradictory to facts later.

In response to media reports that the Dutch Health Ministry recalled a batch of masks purchased from China due to quality problems and unsuitability for ICU use, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on April 2 that based on preliminary investigations, the masks were for non-medical use only and the Chinese company had informed the Dutch side of this before shipment.

Reports in late March from some Spanish media outlets said that quick-test kits from China had a very low accuracy rate in testing for COVID-19, while the test kit manufacturer, Shenzhen-based Bioeasy Biotechnology, denied the accusation, suggesting that incorrect results may come from failures in collecting samples or by using the kits incorrectly.

As for the Czech case, local news website at first published a story with the sensational headline "Coronavirus rapid tests from China have an error rate of up to 80 percent," but found only days later that the interviewee who gave the faulty figures had not read the instructions correctly, with the results improving after the correct method of use was applied.

In both the Spain and Czech cases, Chinese embassies in these two countries have closely followed the issue and helped clarify the truth and solve the problems, while the exporters of the medical products have been asked to provide extra documentation to prove they meet the quality standards of their export destinations when they go through customs clearance.

Many Chinese manufacturers are working around the clock to meet a surging global demand for medical materials to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, which shows not only China's strong commitment to saving more lives, but also the tremendous global trust in made-in-China medical supplies.