Around 308 million personal protective equipment purchased by the Dutch government, including masks, goggles and gloves, has been refused for use in hospitals, a spokesperson for the Dutch Ministry of Health said.
As of last week, the government rejected around 30 million masks in stock.
The rejected equipment will mainly be sold outside the European market, the spokesperson said. If it is not possible to sell or give away the items, they will be “treated in a sustainable manner”, he added.
The government said it was still calculating the financial consequences. According to By Volkskrant, the Dutch newspaper that first reported the figure, the estimated cost of the rejected articles is over 300 million euros (around 348 million dollars).
The consortium that purchased the equipment on behalf of the government worked with “many different information systems,” according to the health ministry, so “the status of the products was not always clear.”
As a result, the health ministry carried out a further examination of the equipment, said the spokesperson, who found it to be unsuitable for hospitals.
The Netherlands recently reintroduced the requirement for masks in some public places, among other measures, in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus and ease the growing pressure on the country’s healthcare system. Almost 77,000 people have tested positive in the past week, according to figures from the Dutch government. CDC ruled the Netherlands “At very high risk”.
In the southern province of Limburg, some hospitals have warned that they could no longer handle new Covid patients, saying in a statement that they “are heading straight for a blockage in health care, and the whole system is coming to a halt.”