mask, coronavirus pandemic

Government to investigate companies that sell fake masks

Industry experts denounce that many companies sell low-quality masks with false labels that do not protect against the coronavirus.

Turkish Ministry of Health has launched an inspection campaign against companies that market fake masks that are not made with the right materials, and therefore do not offer sufficient protection against the coronavirus, but are nevertheless labelled as if they had.

According to Turkish media, the Market Inspection and Surveillance Agency would have announced stricter inspections, having verified that several companies do not use nonwoven fabric for the manufacture of masks: this is a material with high filtration capacity against microparticles in suspension (aerosols) that increase the level of air filtration up to 98%.

In addition to putting the health of consumers at risk, these companies commit fraud by labelling their products as made with non-woven fabric when they really are not, so the authorities will increase inspections and plan to locate and retire these masks from the market: a measure that has been supported by representatives of the sector.

“It is unacceptable that N95 masks are not used in public transport”

Erkin Delikanlı, a member of the Federation of Medical Supplies Manufacturers and Suppliers Associations, emphasised that during the pandemic the increase in demand for masks has caused many people outside the sector to enter the mask production business, introducing poor quality products are on the market, which now is filled with masks that do not meet the necessary standards.

Delikanlı stressed that it is very important that the masks are of good quality, and that their filtration degree should be at least 98% to guarantee adequate protection against the virus; in addition, he recalled that it is mandatory that they be made with at least one layer of nonwoven fabric located in the middle of the other layers.

“While in many EU countries the use of N95 masks has been made mandatory in public transport, it is unacceptable that in Turkey we are wearing masks with low protection,” Delikanlı stated. “We have seen that many brands sell masks labelled ‘protection with non-woven fabric’ in stores. However, when you open most of them, we can’t find this layer (of nonwoven fabric) ”, he denounced.

Infections continue to increase in Turkey

Delikanlı’s complaint comes at a time when cases of contagion continue to grow in Turkey, registering record cases despite the reintroduction of various restrictions such as curfews during weekends. According to the most recent data from the Health Ministry, at the beginning of April the daily infections exceeded 40,000, and yesterday a record number of 49,584 new positives in 24 hours was notified.

In light of these worrying figures, the government announced last week the reinstatement of several measures, including curfews in very high-risk provinces – which are currently the majority – and throughout the country during the month of Ramadan (which begins on April 13), during which restaurants and cafes will only be able to serve take away food.

Although the use of fake masks or without adequate protection may be influencing infections, most experts agree that the lack of compliance with containment measures by the population – including the use of a mask but also social distance, or avoiding crowded places – and especially the appearance of new strains such as the British – which already accounts for more than 80% of new infections – are behind this alarming increase in cases.