Authorities in the Netherlands said they have recalled over half a million face masks imported from China after discovering they are substandard.
The problem with the masks delivered by a Chinese manufacturer on March 21 was that they did not close over the face properly, or had defective filters, the Dutch health ministry said in a statement on Saturday, according to AFP.
The recall concerned nearly half of the shipment of 1.3 million FFP2 medical face masks – loose-fitting rectangles that cover the nose and mouth. It was mostly meant to prevent and protect patients and health caregivers from spreading and contracting Covid19, a strain of coronavirus that has kept over half a million people bedridden.
The statement said about 600,000 of them already sent to hospitals were found defective and are being returned to China.
The health ministry said it “received a signal that, upon inspection, the quality of this shipment did not meet the required standards,” the statement said.
“A second test also proved that the face masks did not meet the required quality standards. It has now been decided to stop the use of this entire shipment.”
Face masks are among most sought Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) against COVID-19. They were initially designed to protect the patient from coughed or exhaled secretions by health workers during sterile procedures but recently, it has become an essential protective for care givers.
With the pneumonia-like COVID-19, which has surpassed the threshold of over half a million infections, claiming more than 30,000 lives, everybody now uses face masks.
The Netherlands has so far reported 9,800 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and 632 deaths.
Health authorities in Nigeria where 97 people have been infected had advised that face masks are not for everybody.
“You see, the face mask that people are struggling to buy, I tell you it’s not very necessary where you don’t have a candidate (I won’t say a patient now) that is not manifesting symptoms – sneezing”, minister of state for health, Olorunnimbe Mamora, said.
“The face mask is really meant for a person who is sneezing, coughing, and wanting to protect others around him/her and for people who are in care-giving centres.”