BY DAVID AKIN
Posted April 24, 2020 2:42 pm
Chinese suppliers will replace a million defective masks and thousands of contaminated swabs for coronavirus testing sold to Canada, federal government officials told a House of Commons committee on Friday. The replacements will be provided at no additional cost to the federal taxpayer.
Meanwhile, Canada is buying personal protective equipment and other gear from Chinese suppliers at such a pace that Ottawa expects it will soon be flying about one planeload a day out of Shanghai to Canada.
The flights alone costs between $600,000 and $800,000 each.
Since the pandemic broke, Canada has received 10 planeloads of coronavirus-related protective material, mostly destined for use by front-line health-care workers across Canada.
But before supplies from China can be put to use in Canadian facilities, officials from the Public Health Agency of Canada must certify that the products meet Canadian standards.
At least one million N95 masks sourced from a Chinese supplier and thousands of swabs used in coronavirus test kits, sourced from a separate Chinese supplier, failed to meet Canadian standards or were found to be contaminated.
Where N95 masks cost about $1.20 per unit before the crisis hit, the federal government is now paying as much as $6 per mask in a highly competitive global market. The one million masks disqualified by PHAC officials failed mostly because of problems with the rubber bands that hold the mask to the face. As for the contaminated swabs, a method was found in Canada to disinfect them so they could be put to use here.
Bill Matthews, deputy minister for Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), told the House government operations and estimates committee on Friday that both Chinese suppliers have indicated they will “stand behind their product” and make good on the defects by providing replacement products at no charge.
Apr 25, 2020, 10:33 PM
- The Canadian government found that a recent order of a million respirator masks purchased from China didn’t meet standards to protect against coronavirus.
- The proper rating for medical respirators is N95 (or its equivalent in China, KN95), which means it’s been shown to filter 95% of tiny particles. But some KN95 masks were found to be substandard.
- Worldwide demand for respirators and other protective gear for front line medical staff treating COVID-19 patients has made supplies scarce in many countries, including in the US.
Morrissette added that high demand for the masks has led many countries to work with new suppliers and manufacturers, and that PHAC was conducting “due diligence” on all masks it received before sending them out to provinces or cities for use.
It’s not clear whether the Canadian government will seek a refund for the faulty masks, the Globe and Mail reported.
China provides as much as 70% of personal protective equipment shipped to Canada, Politico reported, and the sub-standard masks may be repurposed for non-healthcare settings, for use by people at lower risk of exposure to the virus, according to Health Minister Patty Hajdu.
And Canada isn’t the only country dealing with faulty supplies. Last month, Holland recalled about 600,000 face masks (also from China) after hospital staff found they didn’t fit properly, potentially exposing doctors and nurses to the virus, Business Insider previously reported.
N95 respirators are in high demand to protect healthcare workers as they treat patients with COVID-19. These masks (or their Chinese equivalent, the KN95) are so named because they are tested to filter at least 95% of tiny particles (including the contagious respiratory droplets that spread the coronavirus).
Nothing to do with Huawei I suppose? How exactly do you find that cotton swabs are contaminated? Does it turn a silver needle dark? What about the Manchurian epidemic? That was deadlier. You died within 2 days of infection. 100 percent fatality. They burnt the house down if someone inside got infected. They didn’t use N95, just gauze and tissue. That proved sufficient.
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