11292020

China to inspect ventilators, masks for export after complaints from countries they were faulty


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China said Saturday that its ventilators and masks to be sent abroad will be subject to quality inspections after a chorus of complaints from half a dozen countries they were substandard for the fight against coronavirus.

The Chinese customs agency said Saturday that masks, ventilators, surgical gowns, goggles, and other supplies will be treated as medical goods. This would require exporters to show they meet the quality standards of their destination market.

The newspaper Beijing Daily reported the shipments would be inspected by a government agency before being approved for export. No other details were immediately provided.

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China, the biggest producer of surgical masks and other medical products, has come under fire in recent weeks from several countries for faulty test kits and equipment after the ones they purchased were deemed too unreliable.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 – first detected late last year in the southern city of Wuhan – China has been accused of multiple cover-ups and deliberately lying about its infection and death rates. Beijing, meanwhile, has attempted to rebrand itself as a leader in tackling the virus, despite the chorus of complaints growing louder with each passing day.

This week Britain was the latest country to cry foul, with John Bell, the coordinator for coronavirus testing for Public Health England, saying none of England’s 17 million antibody kits – including the ones brought from China – have performed well.

“We see many false negatives and we also see false positives,” he wrote in a blog post on Monday. “… This is not a good result for test suppliers or for us.”

He added the antibody tests bought had only been able to identity immunity accurately in people who had been severely ill.

In response to the news that all kits fell short of expectations, the Prime Minister’s office announced it would push to get a refund.

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Britain joined the likes of Australia, the Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, Georgia and the Czech Republic in their concerns over claims of faulty medical equipment exported by China in recent weeks.

Spain, which is one of the hardest-hit countries in the world, had to return 50,000 quick-testing kits to China after discovering they weren’t working properly. The Netherlands rejected Chinese-made coronavirus testing kits and protective gear.

Commuters wear face masks to protect against the spread of new coronavirus as they walk through a subway station in Beijing, Thursday, April 9, 2020. China’s National Health Commission on Thursday reported dozens of new COVID-19 cases, including most of which it says are imported infections in recent arrivals from abroad and two “native” cases in the southern province of Guangdong. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

In recent days, the Trump administration has blasted China’s authoritarian leadership for trying to conceal what it knew about COVID-19 during its earlier days when the virus is believed could have been contained.

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More than 1.7 million people have been infected with coronavirus worldwide. More than 100,000 have died, while more than 388,000 have recovered from the illness.

Wuhan, where more than 2,500 people reportedly died from the virus, ended a 76-day lockdown Wednesday, allowing residents to again travel in and out of the city without special authorization.

Fox News’ Barnini Chakraborty and the Associated Press contributed to this report.



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