Coronavirus: Thousands of Chinese PPE kits fail India's safety tests
Facing a dearth of personal protective equipment (PPE), India ordered thousands from China, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, but a large chunk of these items didn't pass safety tests, a report in ET said on Thursday. Out of 170,000 PPE kits that arrived in India on April 5, 50,000 failed to clear safety checks. Here are more details on this.
Kits were tested at DRDO lab in Gwalior
The report revealed that the kits were tested at the laboratory of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in Gwalior. Though government officials are procuring only CE/FDA approved kits, some consignments that have been received as a donation are required to pass quality tests in India. Some huge private companies in India also donated kits that were found to be faulty.
India needs 100,000 kits every day
To give a perspective, India needs 100,000 PPE kits daily. We generally order these kits from China, Japan, and Korea, but an increased demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic has proved to be a roadblock. With faulty PPE kits at hand, India has now decided to place an order for an additional 1 million suits. But this order too, has a Chinese connection.
More kits are expected by the end of next month
The order for an additional 1 million suits was placed through different traders, including a Singaporean company. Eventually, all these kits will be sourced from China itself. A person in the know said these suits are expected by the end of May's first week. According to government estimates, if India has 2 million PPE kits, it would be in a "comfortable position".
Meanwhile, India has ramped up production of kits
Faced with an unprecedented crisis, India has stopped relying on other countries and has ramped up the production of PPE kits. 30,000 kits are being produced daily and by the end of April, 50,000 kits will be churned out every day. 150,000 kits have been produced till now and by the weekend an additional 100,000 kits will be produced, sources told the daily.
Besides India, other countries also dealt with faulty Chinese products
But India is not the only one to have received poor quality equipment from China. Earlier, countries like Spain, Turkey, and the Netherlands, found that thousands of testing kits and masks given by the Chinese government were not up to the standard. Last month, the Dutch health ministry said it was recalling 600,000 face masks, that had arrived on March 21.
Netherlands got faulty masks, Spain faulty kits
The officials had said that the masks, despite having a certification, didn't work as they should. "The rest of the shipment was immediately put on hold and has not been distributed. Now it has been decided not to use any of this shipment," a statement from the office said, according to BBC. And, nearly 60,000 kits given to Spain by China, could also not show exact results.
Berated, China has started taking quality control more seriously
As countries and global media publications shamed China for making the fight against coronavirus difficult for them, the country started taking quality control more seriously. The country imposed stringent measures and as a result, the number of companies manufacturing medical equipment shrunk. Reportedly, only 25-30 have the license to export items now. It's left to be seen if these measures actually work.