News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Serious Concerns Over Quality Of Chinese Masks And PPE

By Sir Ray Avery

China's medical device market regulators have in recent days seized more than 89 faulty million masks and 418,000 pieces of questionable personal protective equipment (PPE) in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

The Chinese government's intervention followed a slew of complaints about faulty COVID-19 protective gear exported worldwide.

Many countries, including Spain, India, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Canada and Turkey were forced to recall hundreds of thousands of shoddy masks and pieces of protective gear imported from China.

So, in the public’s interest, I’m appealing to on the government to disclose the names of the Chinese manufacturers supplying so we can arrange for an independent external quality audit of the products. The lives of our frontline healthcare workers are at stake.

All protective gear suppliers are required by New Zealand and Australian regulatory standards to provide the name of the manufacturer the name of the local distributor and the batch number and regulatory compliance details on the product packaging.

The United States FDA and Australian TGA procurement process for PPE is to purchase products from a regulatory controlled approved suppliers and one of the key tests for approval of facemasks would include testing to ensure that 85 percent of end-users obtained a good fit during normal facemask use.

I have contacted five senior district health board managers and they have no record of any face mask testing conducted in their Hospitals in living memory.

A poor-fitting face mask is worse than useless to prevent COVID-19 infection. Dutch health officials last month recalled over half a million Chinese masks which had already been sent to hospitals after complaints that they did not close over the face properly or had defective filters.

There is a very real possibility that the masks that have been brought into New Zealand may not be fit for purpose.

I have more than 30 years’ experience in purchasing PPE and HEPA Filters from China and what we learnt is that the PPE CE mark and accreditation certificates are not worth the paper they are printed on.

It is common for most Chinese PPE suppliers to export a product under one licensed company name but source their products from second, third or fourth party factories.

Even with some of our most reliable Chinese suppliers, we have to reject some batches because they do not meet the required standards and are not fit for purpose. So, we test every batch of product supplied from China and right now this is more important than ever to do so.

In New Zealand, there is no social distancing between healthcare workers and their patients and the difference between life and death for both parties may come down to the quality of PPE used.

To date, 130 front line health care workers are probable or confirmed COVID-19 cases. Fifty per cent of them were infected in the workplace and there is a very real probability that some of the COVID-19 deaths were due to infections caused by frontline healthcare workers infecting their patients due to not wearing the correct PPE or defective PPE.

The auditor-general has been commissioned to conduct an independent inquiry into the procurement and distribution of PPE in New Zealand. This take about four weeks to complete and by this time, as in Denmark, faulty PPE could be distributed to all our DHBs. The lives of our frontline healthcare workers are at stake.

China is producing more than 116 million masks per day, according to official figures. It has exported more than one billion masks this year so far, commerce ministry official Li Xingqian has said.

More than 31.6 million faulty masks and 509,000 protective suits destined for export had been confiscated by port officials as of mid-April.

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Emerald Fennell's Promising Young Woman'

The Guardian needed not one, but three reviews to do justice to Fennell's unsettling approach, which indicates exactly how ambiguous and controversial its message really is. More>>

Howard Davis: Jill Trevelyan's Rita Angus

Although Angus has become one of Aotearoa’s best-loved painters, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before Jill Trevelyan's acclaimed and revelatory biography, which won the Non Fiction Award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2009, and has now been republished by Te Papa press. More>>

Howard Davis: The Back of the Painting

Painting conservators are the forensic pathologists of the art world. While they cannot bring their subjects back to life, they do provide fascinating insights into the precise circumstances of a painting's creation, its material authenticity, and constructive methodology. More>>

Howard Davis: Black Panthers on the Prowl

A passionate and gripping political drama from Shaka King, this is an informative and instructive tale of human frailty that centers around the charismatic Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was murdered at the age of twenty-one during a police raid. More>>

Howard Davis: Controlling the High Ground

Stephen Johnson's raw and angry film not only poses important questions with scrupulous authenticity, but also provides a timely reminder of the genocidal consequences of casual bigotry and xenophobia. More>>

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>

Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland