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'Defective' Masks, 'Made of Underwear': Why Countries are Returning a Precious Item Sent By China

People wearing face masks stand to pay tribute as China holds national mourning for those who died of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), on the Qingming tomb-sweeping festival, in Beijing. (Reuters)

People wearing face masks stand to pay tribute as China holds national mourning for those who died of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), on the Qingming tomb-sweeping festival, in Beijing. (Reuters)

China had exported over 3 million face masks, nearly 40 million protective gear, more than 2 million testing kits and at least 16,000 ventilators to other countries.

Countries around the world are rejecting equipment, including face masks, sent by China to combat the coronavirus outbreak which has already claimed thousands of lives. But why?

A report by New York Times showed that in the past one month, China had exported over 3 million face masks, nearly 40 million protective gear, more than 2 million testing kits and at least 16,000 ventilators to other countries to battle COVID-19 which is wreaking havoc across the world.

However, a number of countries, like Spain, Netherlands, Pakistan and others, have complained about the quality and many have even sent back the equipment imported from China.

For instance, Dutch media reported that the Netherlands was forced to send back at least half of the masks imported from China because they failed quality inspections. The masks were intended to filter out any solid or even liquid particulate matter in the air and thus protect the users.

The masks also came with a KN95 certificate. However, inspection showed that most of the masks had a faulty membrane in the filter which would have rendered them useless against the deadly virus. Moreover, the masks apparently did not fit. Sadly, some of the masks had already been distributed by then.

In fact, testing kits sent by China to Turkey and Spain were also deemed defective, a BBC report showed. Apparently, the testing kits could not accurately help detect COVID-19 in a patient and were consequently of no use.

In another bizarre news, there were also reports of China allegedly sending masks made of underwear to their "ally", Pakistan. A local Pakistani news channel reported the news and said that China had promised to export good quality masks and other equipment to help the country tackle the crippling coronavirus outbreak.

Yet, the masks they sent were allegedly made of underwear.

After the Netherlands recalled the masks made by China, the official Twitter handle of Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted that the masks weren't defective and instead requested countries to read instructions that come along with the products.

The tweet shows that instructions provided along with the masks specified they weren't for surgical use.

At present, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the world has crossed 1.5 million and over 80,000 people have died till date.