Commentary on Political Economy

Monday, 6 April 2020

Forrest's virus supplies shipment not fully 'clinical grade'

Brad Thompson
Brad ThompsonReporter 
Some of the Chinese medical equipment imported by mining billionaire Andrew Forrest is not up to the scratch for some hospital uses in the fight against coronavirus.
Health department officials in Western Australia found a portion of the medical equipment inspected so far was not clinical standard.
WA health minister Roger Cook said authorities continued to inspect the remainder of some 90 tonnes of equipment secured from China by Mr Forrest through his philanthropic Minderoo Foundation.
“That work is ongoing. There is some really good equipment in there and that is fantastic. It will be a big boost to our hospitals,” Mr Cook said on Monday.
“Some of the other stuff is not necessarily clinical grade.”
Mr Cook said there was potential for community workers to use some of the equipment that didn’t meet clinical standards.
The equipment flown into Perth by Minderoo includes 1 million face masks, 400,000 surgical masks, 2.3 million medical-grade gloves, 100,000 nasal swabs, 200,000 medical coveralls, 10,000 medical goggles, 5000 touch-less thermometers and ventilators.
Mr Forrest organised medical supplies to be flown from China as part of a $160 million funding package to fight COVID-19.
Minderoo paid cash in advance for the supplies, with WA and other Australian governments expected to reimburse Minderoo for any goods used. Minderoo covered the cost of transporting the goods to Perth.
Independent of Minderoo, the WA government has just secured $5.5 million of personal protective equipment.
It is estimated the new equipment is enough to keep health and other essential workers supplied until at least June.
WA sent officials overseas to inspect the equipment before it was imported.
Other countries have rejected Chinese-made equipment, with thousands of testing kits and medical masks deemed below-standard or defective.
Minderoo was contacted for comment.

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