The ineffective test kits by a Chinese manufacturer were not authorized by the Chinese official bodies.
Casablanca – Spanish health authorities have seized tens of thousands of ineffective COVID-19 test kits imported from an unauthorized manufacturer in China.
On March 27, a scandal erupted in Spain over Chinese-produced COVID-19 test kits that proved faulty. Advertised at 80% detection rate, they proved to only have 30% accuracy. Spanish health authorities withdrew 58,000 kits after confirming their ineffectiveness.
A Spanish-based supply company bought the faulty test kits before China issued a list of authorized manufacturers of medical equipment. In a rushed decision, the Spanish authorities did not wait for the Chinese officials to certify the products, claiming that “they have already been certified by the European Union.”
COVID-19 cases are multiplying in Spain, the second hardest-hit country in Europe, with more than 5,500 new infections recorded today alone. In total, the European country has confirmed 78,799 cases of the virus, including 6,606 deaths and 14,709 recoveries.
Factories all over the world are temporarily shifting their production to help to combat the novel coronavirus. China, the manufacturing supply base of the world, has been swift in repurposing its main productions to medical supplies.
In mid-February, Chinese president Xi Jinping called for a “people’s war” in fighting the virus, and approximately 2,500 businesses started producing essential medical equipment. By the end of February, China was manufacturing up to 116 million medical face masks a day.
Since then, the center of the outbreak has shifted from China to Europe. China has been donating masks to South Korea and Italy, but the prices of medical masks and other equipment have been rising nonetheless due to COVID-19-induced shortages. Countries like Spain that are experiencing the most severe outbreaks turn to China for medical supplies, but amid desperation and rush, mistakes can be made easily.
The Spanish government announced last week that it will order €432 million worth supplies of early diagnostic tests, gloves, masks, and other crucial protective equipment. Since the faulty COVID-19 test kits were not part of that order, Spain decided to proceed with the supplies nonetheless.
Morocco received medical equipment from China on March 23 after consultation between the two countries’ foreign ministers, and its effectiveness has not been put into question. Meanwhile, Morocco is set to acquire 110,000 early diagnostic kits from South Korea after securing a deal with Osang Healthcare on March 26.
As of March 29, there are 463 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Morocco. The healthcare system is preparing for a rapid increase in cases, and the government is trying to “flatten the curve” of the infection rate by employing social distancing and locking down all non-essential activity.