Fury over defective face masks given to local health workers

Healthcare workers at the Hospital Clínico in Malaga.
Healthcare workers at the Hospital Clínico in Malaga. / Ñito Salas
  • Tests have begun on those who wore kit which didn't meet EU safety standards as Malaga leads the regional table for frontline workers infected

There has been outrage among healthcare professionals in Malaga this week after it came to light that thousands of defective protective face masks had been sent to frontline health workers across Andalucía.

Around 2,500 staff at the Hospital Clínico in Malaga city alone wore the masks, with 1,500 under suspicion of having now contracted coronavirus. These masks were also supplied in large volumes to the district hospitals in Antequera and Ronda.

"They're playing with my health and the health of my family," said one worker, who preferred to stay anonymous, whose team had been supplied with N95 masks from a supplier named Garry Galaxy which were later recalled by the ministry of Health.

These masks, which do not meet European Union safety standards (thought to offer 95 per cent protection), were distributed to hospitals and health centres across all of the provinces in Andalucía.

Since Monday staff who wore these masks in centres across Malaga have been interviewed on an individual basis to see if they presented any coronavirus symptoms. Testing, promised by the central government for all workers potentially affected, eventually got under way on Thursday.

Malaga, incidentally, is the Andalusian province in which the greatest number of healthcare workers have contracted coronavirus. By Thursday, some 606 health professionals have contracted Covid-19, accounting for 22.1 per cent of all cases in Malaga province.