TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Made-in-China surgical masks claimed to have been manufactured in Taiwan have surfaced in Japan, sparking warnings that the fakes offer no protection against the coronavirus (COVID-19).
A Facebook user that goes by the handle awakenedcivil (暴民) shared photos of the phonies in a post Wednesday (April 22), urging the public to take heed and spread the word. The frauds appear indistinguishable from the genuine ones, as they are both embossed “Made in Taiwan.”
According to the post, the low-quality masks can only be used to keep out pollen and dust, not viral particles. People may as well wear cloth masks rather than purchase the Chinese imitations, it said.
The user called on the government of the Northeast Asian country to crack down on the sale of the counterfeits, which are circulating in the market and could hamper the effort to curb the Wuhan virus. Taiwan has banned the export of surgical masks amid the pandemic, which means products passed off as having been manufactured in the island country should be treated with suspicion.
Japan has expressed gratitude to Taiwan for its donation of 2 million masks, which arrived Tuesday (April 21) at Tokyo’s Narita Airport. The protective gear, however, will be provided exclusively to frontline medical workers.
Japan is struggling to cope with a surge of coronavirus cases over the past few weeks, with medical experts warning a collapse of the country’s medical system is imminent. The country has recorded 11,135 COVID-19 cases as of Thursday (April 23), including 263 deaths.