The Dutch government has ordered a recall of around 600,000 masks out of a shipment of 1.3 million from China after they failed to meet quality standards.
The defective masks had already been distributed to several hospitals currently battling the COVID-19 outbreak, news agency AFP and Dutch media reported. The Dutch Health Ministry has kept the rest of the shipment on hold.
An inspection revealed that the FFP2 masks did not protect the face properly or had defective filter membranes. The fine filters stop the virus from entering the mouth or nose. The masks failed more than one inspection.
"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," said the Health Ministry said in a statement to news agency AFP.
The masks were delivered to the Netherlands by a Chinese manufacturer on March 21. The Health Ministry said it would conduct extra testing on any future shipments.
Several hospitals in the Netherlands had already rejected some of the shipment even before the Health Ministry issued the recall.
"When they were delivered to our hospital, I immediately rejected those masks," a hospital source told Dutch public broadcaster NOS.
China is sending millions of masks and medical supplies to countries across the world to combat the COVID-19 outbreak. Countries that are receiving China's supplies include Serbia, Liberia, France, the Philippines and the Czech Republic.
The Netherlands currently has over 9,700 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Over 630 people have already died in the western European country due to the virus.