Netherlands finds masks, not virus test kits, from China faulty


A Facebook meme has erroneously included the Netherlands among the countries that recently stopped using or raised concerns over China-made COVID-19 rapid test kits because of their low accuracy level.


Unlike Spain and the Czech Republic, the Netherlands encountered problems with defective FFP2 face masks—not coronavirus test kits—bought from a Chinese manufacturer. The Dutch government has recalled 600,000 of these masks from hospitals.


The incorrect claim was made by Facebook page Duterte Showbiz President in its March 29 yes-no meme of Canadian rapper Drake. The main text in the left panel reads, “30-40% accurate China testkits.”


The Czech Republic, Spain and the Netherlands were grouped in Drake’s “no” image, an apparent reference to the negative reaction the test kits have generated in these European countries. The “yes” image only lists the Philippines.


There are several Drake meme generators online.


The Dutch health ministry said March 28 it recalled the China-made FFP2 masks already distributed to hospitals after inspections showed they “did not protect the face properly or had defective filter membranes” and fell below quality standards, according to news reports.


The masks were part of a March 21 shipment consisting of 1.3 million. The rest of the shipment has been put on hold.


Spain’s capital Madrid, meanwhile, stopped using 340,000 COVID-19 test kits it ordered from the Shenzhen-based Bioeasy and asked for a replacement after tests showed the kits have an accuracy rate of only 30 percent, various news accounts said.

In the Czech Republic, local health workers were cited in news reports as saying test kits from China failed in 80 percent of cases and could not reliably detect infection in its initial phase.


The kits, totaling 300,000 and worth 1.83 million euros (about P105 million), reportedly show false positive as well as negative results.


In a March 28 press conference, Health Undersecretary Mario Rosario Vergeire said some of the test kits donated by China to the Philippines were not used because they yield only a 40 percent accuracy level.


Hours after the Chinese embassy issued on March 29 a statement taking issue with the “irresponsible remarks” and denying its government was the source of the questionable test kits, Vergeire apologized for the "confusion."


She said she said was referring to test kits a “private foundation” had proposed to donate to the Department of Health.


Both the DOH and Chinese embassy said 2,000 BGI RT-PCR (real-time polymerase chain reaction) test kits and 100,000 Sansure RT-PCR test kits initially donated by the Chinese government have been assessed by the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine and found to be at par with kits provided by the World Health Organization.


The DOH said in a March 21 press briefing that a test kit developed by scientists from the the University of the Philippines was undergoing validation, which may take two to three weeks.


Europe has become the epicenter of the pandemic, which began in Wuhan, China. To date, Spain has recorded 78,797confirmed cases, 6,606 deaths and 14,709 recoveries; the Netherlands, 10,926 confirmed cases, 771 deaths and 253 recoveries; and the Czech Republic, 2,697 confirmed cases, 13 deaths and 11 recoveries.


The Philippines has 1,418 confirmed cases, 71 deaths and 42 recoveries.


The number of confirmed cases around the world has reached 691,867. Deaths have climbed to 32,988 and recoveries to 146,613.

References


80% of rapid COVID-19 tests the Czech Republic bought From China are wrong. (2020, March 26). Prague Morning. Retrieved from https://www.praguemorning.cz/80-of-rapid-covid-19-tests-the-czech-republic-bought-from-china-are-wrong/


Agence France Presse. (29, March 2020.) Coronavirus: Netherlands recalls defective masks imported from China. Retrieved from https://www.straitstimes.com/world/europe/coronavirus-netherlands-recalls-defective-masks-imported-from-china


Baker, S. & Moynihan, R. (2020, March 26). Spain, Europe's worst-hit country after Italy, says coronavirus tests it bought from China are failing to detect positive cases. Business Insider. Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.com/coronavirus-spain-says-rapid-tests-sent-from-china-missing-cases-2020-3


Chinese Embassy in the Philippines. (2020, March 29). Statement by the Chinese Embassy on DOH official's comments on the test kits donated by China. Retrieved from http://ph.china-embassy.org/eng/sgdt/t1763183.htm


Coronavirus rapid tests from China have an error rate of up to 80 percent, according to a regional hygienist. (2020, March 23). Irozhlas. Retrieved from https://www.irozhlas.cz/zpravy-domov/ostrava-rychlotesty-koronavirus_2003231414_sot (Translation)


Department of Health. (2020, March 28). Beat COVID-19 virtual presser. DOH presscon March 28, 2020. Retrieved from https://www.doh.gov.ph/2019-ncov-presscon?page=1


Department of Health. (2020, March 21). Press briefing on novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Retrieved from https://www.doh.gov.ph/2019-ncov-presscon?page=6


Duterte Showbiz President. (2020, March 29). The kit got close 👊😂 [Facebook update]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/PoongPGong/posts/1539179076241137


Inquirer.net. (2020, March 29). DOH apologizes, says China COVID-19 test kits at par with WHO standards [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00OEwvTC6Go


Jones, S. (2020, March 27). Coronavirus test kits withdrawn in Spain over poor accuracy rate. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/27/coronavirus-test-kits-withdrawn-spain-poor-accuracy-rate


Lau, S. & Zhang, P. (2020, March 27). Spanish capital ditches ‘unreliable’ Chinese coronavirus test kits. South China Morning Post. Retrieved from https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/3077169/spanish-capital-ditches-unreliable-chinese-coronavirus-test-kits


Mukhopadhyay, A. (2020, March 29). Coronavirus: Netherlands recalls 'defective' masks bought from China. Retrieved from https://www.dw.com/en/coronavirus-netherlands-recalls-defective-masks-bought-from-china/a-52949216

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