As the coronavirus sweeps across the world, some countries are finding themselves in a difficult situation. Low on supplies or money, traditional American allies like Italy, Spain, France, and Japan have had to turn to China for help. “China creates the poison and sells the solution to it,” foreign affairs expert Gordon Chang said.
China has used its money, medical equipment, and teams of doctors and nurses in a high-stakes campaign to show the world that while the United States scrambles to contain the novel coronavirus within its borders, China is busy moving in on some of America’s closest allies.
China has also been floating the idea that it has donated all of the medical supplies out of concern for the world. That’s not the case, Chang said. “A lot of the stuff that China claims has been donated has not been donating,” he said. “It’s been sold.” China has come through for several countries, but, in some, it has fallen short of expectations.
In Spain, for example, Health Minister Salvador Illa announced that the country had bought $467 million in medical supplies from China, including 950 ventilators, 5.5 million testing kits, 11 million gloves, and more than half a billion protective face masks.
Soon after receiving the supplies, the Spanish government announced plans to return 9,000 “quick result” test kits to China because they were deemed substandard, specifically the sensibility of the test was around 30 percent when it should be higher than 80 percent.
China admitted that the kits they sold to Spain were bought from Bio-easy, a Chinese company not licensed to make them.
The time and money Spain wasted on faulty supplies could have devastating effects on a country that is now in its second week of a national lockdown after cases of COVID-19 spiked.
Spain now has at least 49,515 confirmed coronavirus cases, according to its Ministry of Health. Of that number, 8,000 people were confirmed to have the virus in the past 24 hours. Nearly 27,000 people remain hospitalized as Spain scrambles to contain the virus.