Canada's public health authority says as many as one million KN95 respirators received from China have failed to meet federal coronavirus standards for use by healthcare professionals.
Eric Morrisette, a spokesperson for the Public Health Agency of Canada, revealed that the KN95 masks acquired from China were deemed "unfit" for use and as a result, the federal government was unable to disburse the non-compliant masks to provinces and territories in Canada that are currently facing shortages.
"To date, PHAC has identified approximately 1 million KN95 masks as non-compliant with specifications for health care settings," Morrissette said in a statement, according to Politico.
Major setback for country
The failure of these respirators to meet Canadian standards is a major setback for the country as it struggles to procure personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical supplies amid fierce competition from the rest of the world.
The KN95 masks are China-made variants similar to the N95 masks and are a crucial type of PPE used by nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals and frontliners in the fight against the ongoing global pandemic. Canada sources around 70 percent of PPE imports from China while the remaining 30 percent is acquired from the United States, England and Switzerland.
Shortage of PPE, medical supplies in Canada
Canada's efforts to extract PPE and medical supplies from China have been hit with a series of complications recently. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said two cargo planes sent to China to bring back shipments of urgently needed medical products were forced to return empty on Monday, as reported by The Globe and Mail.
Trudeau cited transportation delays on the ground and restrictions over how long planes could wait at airports in China before returning, whether the aircraft are loaded with cargo or not, which the Chinese government has denied.
A spokesperson for Procurement Minister Anita Anand said four flights carrying N95 respirators, surgical masks, coveralls and testing reagent from China managed to arrive in Canada last weekend with their cargo. However, the government was expecting more planes to arrive from China with equipment this week.
China criticised for faulty test kits, equipment
China is facing backlash from the world over the quality of the products being shipped out from the mainland as more and more countries come forward with claims of shoddy products and test kits that don't meet medical standard, as pointed out by Fox News.
Spain announced on Thursday that it was sending back faulty coronavirus test kits that were supposed to be replacements for the first faulty batch the country received from China. The Netherlands also voiced its problems with masks procured from China, saying they did not close over the face properly and some had defective filters.
Additionally, Up to 80 percent of the 150,000 rapid coronavirus test kits China delivered to the Czech Republic in March were also faulty and less accurate than other tests, forcing the Czech Republic to continue to rely on conventional laboratory tests.
Earlier this month, the Australian Border Force seized around 800,000 defective face masks from Beijing worth $7.6 million. Not only did Australians have a problem with the quality of the products but also the price, after China reportedly jacked up the prices.
Scientists in Slovakia, Turkey and Britain have also complained about faulty antigen or antibody coronavirus test kits sent by Chinese companies, in some cases costing their governments millions of dollars. A US university also stopped using coronavirus testing kits from china over contamination complaints, as previously reported.