“Around 1.5 million masks, which have been distributed are not appropriate for use. These masks have been tested in four member states and the results are negative,” according to an internal e-mail by the EU Health Security Committee (HSC), seen by EURACTIV.
The stock of masks was purchased from a Chinese provider via an EU acquisition fund and supposed to be distributed in weekly instalments over six weeks.
On 14 May, the European Commission decided to suspend deliveries of 10 million Chinese masks to member states and Britain after flaws were reported by two of the receiving member states.
Poland, the Netherlands and Belgium were among the recipients, an EU official confirmed to EURACTIV.
After a first batch of 1.5 million masks was shipped to 17 of the 27 member states and Britain, Poland ’s health minister Lukasz Szumowski said the 600,000 items Polish authorities received did not have European certificates and did not comply with the medical standards required for their distribution.
“We are in the process of arranging details to recall the products from receiving countries. Please therefore continue to refrain from using these masks and in due course they will be picked up,” the HSC communication reads.
“Going forward, we are working to ensure an adequate resolution to this quality issue, which will also entail, prior to future distributions, that a quality control test of the actual batch is run in the EU.”
The European Commission has left open the prospect of taking legal action.
(Alexandra Brzozowski | EURACTIV.com)