The Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka, yesterday denied allegations that China was supplying faulty tests kits and surgical masks to countries fighting the Coronavirus pandemic and said several countries including the United States, had placed orders for millions of masks and test kits in their battle against the virus.
An official from the Embassy told Daily Mirror that the recent donation of surgical masks and test kits to Sri Lanka's Health Ministry to fight the COVID-19, was of the highest standards as it was supplied by licensed, qualified suppliers.
The official explained that these test kits and masks had to undergo several quality checks and it was only manufacturers holding the required certifications
who were permitted to supply these items to the Chinese government. He said there was no doubt regarding the quality of the products being donated by China to countries fighting the pandemic.
He further stated that when countries wished to import more test kits and masks from Chinese companies, the standard protocol was that the buyer would first check the license and certificates of the seller and notify the Chinese authorities, and only then would they place the order.
However, in the present context, where countries had complained of faulty test kits and masks, the official said China had received reports that there were a few isolated unlicensed businessmen who had manufactured products to earn quick cash and they were now identified and under investigation by the Chinese authorities.
"There were a few isolated cases, that some businessmen wanting to earn quick money produced fake products. But they are currently under investigation. These are isolated incidents which we have dealt with but that does not mean all Chinese products are faulty. 99 percent of the products are of high quality and China will continue to donate to countries in need," the Embassy official said.
At a time when the world is in urgent need of surgical masks and test kits as the Coronavirus spread across continents, several countries which imported these kits and masks from companies in China have been forced to recall them, due to the items being of substandard nature. Countries such as the Netherlands, Spain, Turkey and the Czech Republic have all in recent days recalled thousands of test kits and masks which had been imported from China, stating that the test kits showed negative results even on positive Coronavirus patients, thereby leading to increases in the spread of the virus.
However, the Chinese Embassy in those countries have clarified that some of these faulty products were manufactured by companies who did not have an official license from Chinese medical authorities and the matter was being looked into.
The Daily Mirror learns, that following the uproar in these foreign countries, concerns had been raised regarding the quality of the products donated by China recently to Sri Lanka's Health Ministry as Sri Lanka fights the rapid spread of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
When questioned, senior Health Ministry officials said that the donation received by China of masks and test kits had been distributed to state hospitals and there had been no faults recorded. The officials added that while the test kits were a vital need in Sri Lanka, those who test positive on these kits would have to undergo another in-depth test which would re-confirm the result.
Therefore, Sri Lanka did not depend on these test kits alone. "We do know that these are the same test kits and masks which have even been supplied to the UK and are being used there. We trust that the quality is of a high standard and we see no faults with it. In fact, Sri Lanka is grateful to China for making such a valuable donation at a time like this," the ministry officials said.
A doctor who was also familiar with the products which arrived from China assured that the quality was of a high standard. While China has so far donated over 50,000 surgical masks and 1,000 test kits, it is expected to, in the coming weeks send more masks and test kits to Sri Lanka to assist the country in its fight against the COVID-19.
Countries such as France and USA have also over the weekend, placed an order for millions of masks from China which has led to China dismissing allegations that it was involved in sending substandard products to virus hit countries.
-Several countries recall test kits and masks imported from China in recent days
- China says virus-hit countries place confidence in China by ordering millions of masks and test kits
- Test kits, masks undergo several quality checks
China denies supplying faulty test kits and surgical masks to virus hit countries (JAMILA HUSAIN)