The Spanish government said it had returned the first batch of coronavirus test kits procured from a Chinese company. With the fourth highest number of virus cases and the second highest number of deaths in the world, the country revamped its efforts to procure 640,000 testing kits from companies in China and South Korea.

Spain sends back faulty coronavirus test kits procured from China

Coronavirus test kit
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In order to expand coronavirus testing, Spain purchased 640,000 rapid testing kits, from companies in South Korea and China. But its efforts suffered a setback after roughly 9,000 test kits from the first batch purchased from China turned out to be faulty. As a result, the faulty kits were sent back, the Spanish government said on Thursday, La Prensa Latina, a Spanish news site, reported.

What was the fault in Chinese Covid-19 test kits?

For the test kits to function properly, they should have an accuracy rate of at least 30 percent. But the Spanish Association of Microbiologists (SEIMC) warned that the nose swabs developed by Shenzhen Bioeasy Biotechnology, the Chinese company which provided the kits, had an accuracy rate of less than 30 percent.

"With this level of accuracy it is impossible to put them into routine use," SEIMC spokeswoman María del Mar Tomas said.

How did China react?

In a tweet, the Chinese embassy in Spain said the company which the Spanish government had purchased the items was an unlicensed entity.

Spanish government issues statement

The Spanish Health ministry said in a statement that the test kits were procured from a local supplier and were not imported from China.

The ministry said the products bore the CE mark, meaning they conformed to European Union standards. The returned test kits weren't part of a $682 million contract with the Chinese government to procure medical supplies. The deal includes the delivery of 5.5 million testing kits to Spain from China.