BH CORRESPONDENT, New Delhi: It may not be deliberate act at a time of crisis for a benefactor, but certainly for an unscrupulous supplier from China trying to make a quick buck.
As the news of the coronavirus pandemic broke out and caught many countries unprepared, there was a scramble for personal protection equipment (PPE) and rapid test kits. India too had a voluminous requirement and it was from Chinese manufacturers these products were being sourced by various entities — charity organisations, NGOs, governments, corporates — the lot.
But, murky details and questions are being raised as the consignments arrive in India. Of 170,000 PPE kits that arrived in India on April 5, about 50,000 failed quality tests. Two smaller consignments with 30,000 and 10,000 PPE kits also have been found to be substandard by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) laboratory in Gwalior.
Government officials have maintained that they are procuring CE/FDAcertified PPE kits only from China. As per prescribed norms, kits that are not FDA/ CE-approved have to pass quality tests in India.
Since a shortfall of PPE kits is anticipated as the number of Covid-19 cases are on the rise, orders are now being routed through Singapore and orders are expected to be delivered in a few weeks.
Meanwhile, an embarrassed Chinese government has issued directives to all medical product exporters to provide extra documentation showing their products met the standards of its export destination, and that the companies were officially registered in China.
Spain, Australia and Turkey are also among countries that complained of faulty or non-compliant kits from Chinese suppliers.
Chinese manufacturers have ramped up production of masks to116 million units a day, that’s about 12 times as many as a month prior, according to official data.