Coronavirus: 3 million mouth masks don't meet quality standards

3 million FFP2 masks delivered to Belgium last week were rejected because they did not meet the required quality standards.

This is a "heavy setback" in the search for masks that offer the people on the field the highest possible protection, stated Minister Philippe De Backer, head of the task force in charge of mouth masks, in the Chamber.

De Backer made an official complaint, and an official report was made, to be able to further followup on the matter.

3 million mouth masks that were delivered last week do not appear to be the FFP2 masks. "At first glance, there were problems with them. We had them tested. The Federal Public Economy Service confirmed that the supplier had not been able to provide conclusive test certificates, and that the masks were of unacceptable quality after an additional test in a Belgian lab," De Backer added.

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In April, 15 million surgical masks and 2.8 million FFP2 masks will be needed for all care providers together, according to De Backer. To date, Belgium has received 11 million surgical masks, of which 7.5 million have been distributed to healthcare providers.

A further 2 million were brought to hospitals on Thursday morning. Of the FFP2 masks, 850,000 have already been distributed to healthcare providers.

Belgium has had problems with securing usable mouth masks, as it became apparent that it had destroyed millions ahead of the outbreak after they had reached their expiration date but failed to replace them, and 100,000 masks destined for Flemish rehabilitation hospitals were not deemed of sufficient quality.

Previously, another delivery of mouth masks never reached Belgium because of possible fraud by the Turkish manufacturer. However, Belgium received half a million masks from Chinese company Alibaba, after the King personally intervened.

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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