Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

  • The Netherlands has asked hospitals to give back around 600 000 face masks it imported from China.
  • It found that the masks were failing to meet safety requirements, Dutch media reported.
  • The masks were failing to stop coronavirus particles pass through, the report said.
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The Dutch government has recalled over half a million face masks it imported from China after discovering that they were faulty.

The Netherlands said on Saturday that it had asked its hospitals to return around 600 000 face masks which health professionals are using to treat patients of the coronavirus.

"The mouth masks that are not satisfactory have been retrieved," Holland's Ministry of Health told Dutch broadcaster NOS.

The NOS reported that the faulty masks fail to meet safety requirements because they did not fit on the faces of doctors and nurses and were failing to prevent particles of the COVID-19 virus passing through.

One hospital worker quoted by the NOS said: "When they were delivered to our hospital, I immediately rejected those masks... If those masks do not close properly, the virus particles can simply pass. We do not use them.

"That is unsafe for our people."

The Netherlands, like its European neighbours, has introduced strict social distancing measures to combat the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Mark Rutte moved to close all bars, restaurants, and schools.

It had reported 9 762 confirmed cases of the virus and 639 deaths linked to it at the time of writing.

It is not the only European country to report receiving faulty equipment from China.

Microbiology experts in Spain this week said that rapid coronavirus tests that the country bought from the Chinese state are not consistently detecting positive cases.

Studies on these tests found that they had only 30% sensitivity, meaning they correctly identified people with the virus only 30% of the time, according to the Spanish newspaper El País.

Medical professionals in the Czech Republic have also said that rapid tests from China were not working properly.

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