Countries sending alleged ‘faulty’ COVID-19 test kits, face masks back to China

Marje Pelayo   •   March 30, 2020   •   1516

MANILA, Philippines – Several countries are sending imported medical supplies back to China after they were reportedly found defective.

The latest is the Netherlands, which ordered a recall of more than 600,000 alleged substandard face masks.

The Dutch government received on March 21 shipments of about 1.3 million face masks.

But the government’s Ministry of Health said the rest of the shipment “was immediately put on hold and has not been distributed.”

“A second test also revealed that the masks did not meet the quality norms. Now it has been decided not to use any of this shipment,” the Dutch Health Ministry said in a statement.

The imported FFP2 masks or N95 masks don’t provide full-face protection and the filters were also defective, claimed the Ministry.

Following the revealed defects, Dutch authorities said they will be stricter by doing extra standard testing to all arriving medical supplies shipment.

Prior to this, the Spanish government last week announced it would send back the rapid test kits it imported from a company in China after tests revealed only 30% detection rate.

Spain said the kits, which came from a national supplier, were ‘CE-Certified’ and passed the European standards.

However, the Chinese Embassy in Spain revealed that the supplier Shenzhen Bioeasy Biotechnology is not licensed nor registered under the National Administration of Medical Products of China to sell such medical products.

Despite the controversy, China vowed to replace the defective test kits delivered to Spain.

Countries like Turkey and the Czech Republic were also among countries that reported ‘faulty’ rapid test kits from China.

In the Philippines, meanwhile, the Department of Health (DOH) found that several COVID-19 test kits yielded only a 40% accuracy rate.

But the DOH clarified that those defective kits were not the ones from China but a brand that was said to have been donated by a private local group.

Sa ngalan po ng Kagawaran humihingi po kami ng paumanhin sa naidulot nitong pagkalito sa nasabi ko po kahapon. Sana po ay na- klaro na po namin ang isyu na ito [In behalf of the Department we apologize for the confusion caused by what I mentioned yesterday. We hope that we have clarified this issue,” said DOH Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire.

The DOH stressed that the COVID-19 tests kits imported from China and were delivered to the Philippines, have passed the World Health Organization (WHO) standards. MNP (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

PH Defense receives 50K COVID-19 swab test kits from Singapore

Robie de Guzman   •   April 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of National Defense (DND) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have received 50,000 units of COVID-19 swab test kits from the Singapore Ministry of Defense.

The donated test kits were turned over to the DND and the AFP on Thursday, April 15.

The DND said the test kits will be issued to the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) and the AFP Medical Center (AFPMC).

The VMMC, which is mandated to provide quality medical care and treatment to veterans and their dependents, is under the purview of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO).

The AFPMC, meanwhile, provides medical care to the military and civilian personnel of the AFP.

“Both PVAO and AFP are government bureaus under the DND,” the department said.

Police seize unregistered COVID-19 test kits, nab 2 suspects in Navotas

Robie de Guzman   •   March 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Boxes containing unauthorized COVID-19 test kits were seized in an entrapment operation in Navotas City, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Wednesday.

In a statement, PNP chief General Debold Sinas said police operatives recovered Tuesday 154 boxes each containing 50 pieces of Clungene rapid test kits worth P1,016,000, and marked money amounting to P436,000.

The PNP said the operation conducted at Barangay San Rafael stemmed from information shared by the Food and Drug Administration.

The operation also yielded the arrest of 40-year old Chinese trader Liset Lo Kaw and 23-year old Christian Casanova who marketed the unregistered test kits online.

Sinas said the arrested suspects are leaders of Christian CG, a criminal group engaged in online selling.

“We remind the public to be vigilant and to immediately report any suspicious online transactions. We cannot discount the risks associated with unauthorized medical products that could possibly endanger public health,” the PNP chief said.

“Also, we encourage those who are engaged in food or health product businesses to get pertinent legal documents from the FDA to avoid conflict with the law,” he added.

The PNP said the suspects were brought to Quezon City District Field Unit office for documentation and booking process.

They will face charges for violation of the Food and Drug Administration Act of 2009 in relation to FDA Circular No. 2020-016 or the prohibition of Online selling of FDA Certified COVID-19 Antibody Test Kit.

Manila LGU tracks source of used rapid test kits scattered in Sampaloc

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Manila City government is tracking the source of the used rapid test kits that were found scattered on a street in Sampaloc, Manila on Tuesday night (September 1).

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso said they already have a lead on where the rapid test kits came from. He also warned that the local government will file charges against hospitals, clinics, and laboratories that will fail to properly dispose hazard wastes.

“We saw already a person of interest  so that we will locate maybe the clinic, maybe a private office, maybe a hospital or maybe a laboratory. Sa ngayon mayroon nang lead (we already have a lead),” he said.

The rapid test kits were placed inside sacks loaded on a sidecar of a pedicab. One of the sacks fell off causing the used test kits to scatter along M. Dela Fuente Street.

The Department of Health (DOH) also warned that erring establishments could face revocation of license. DOH Spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire reminded healthcare facilities to follow the proper protocols on disposal of hazardous waste.

Vergeire said improper disposal of hazardous waste increases risk to public health.

“We issue warnings kapag hindi ka pa rin sumunod (if you still do not follow). We will suspend you and the final revocation of license. With regard to these healthcare waste their license will be at risk,” she said.

The Manila local government immediately collected the used rapid test kits and disinfected the area. The used kits will be turned over to an accredited hazardous waste collector. AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

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