Nearly a million state-purchased respirators cannot be used

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An international laboratory in Poland has found that approximately one million respirators purchased for Latvian authorities in spring are not in conformity with the specified requirements, the Ministry of Defense (AM) Press Department said November 3.

On Tuesday, November 3, the government meeting reviewed the AM information report on the results of testing the quality of individual protective equipment purchased centrally.

According to the information provided by the National Health Service (NVD), the Center for Defense Military Sites and Procurement  (VAMOIC) entered into two contracts on April 9 with Titled Ltd for the purchase of respiratory equipment (K95). The respirators K95 are equivalent to the protection degree of FFP2 respirators.

In connection with shortages of individual protective equipment in April and the problems with their testing, respirator tests were carried out in a non-accredited laboratory in Estonia.

At the time, the Ministry informed the Cabinet of Ministers regarding problems with the acceptance of the respirator cargo, as there was no possibility to perform a quality check in accredited laboratories in Europe due to their congestion.

However, in response to the lack of personal protective equipment in the country at that moment, the Cabinet decided to allow AM to accept the cargo on the basis of local and Estonian laboratory tests. In addition, the government delegated AM to send respiratory samples to a certified laboratory.

VAMOIC sent samples of the respirators received under both contracts for testing to an accredited laboratory located in Poland. Due to the capacity of laboratories across Europe, the results of the tests were received on 28 October.

The tests conclude that the first load respirators comply with most of the quality requirements for FFP2 level, with the exception of two out of ten samples showing a slight excess of air leakage. 

However, the second cargo did not meet the specified requirements. Currently, the Ministry did not comment on any specific requirements.

As part of the first contract, 50 000 respirators were delivered for €140,000, while around 999 500 respirators were received in the second pack for €2,898,666.

In light of these results, VAMOIC carries out a inventory to see how many respirators from the second cargo have remained in the warehouses. A legal analysis shall also be carried out to impose penalties on the undertaking for failing to meet the quality criteria laid down in the supply contract, as well as to require the replacement of those respirators.

AM said that a reserve for personal protective equipment is currently in place. Consequently, there is no such situation as in the spring when there was no time to await the results of the tests and the protective equipment had to be distributed to the users.

In order not to repeat similar situations in the future, the Ministry will consider the establishment of an accredited laboratory in Latvia.

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