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Dutch government rejects hundreds of millions of pieces of protective gear.

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Roughly 308 million pieces of personal protective equipment bought by the Dutch government, including masks, goggles and gloves, were rejected for use in hospitals, a spokesman for the Dutch health ministry said.

As of last week, the government had rejected about 30 million masks it had in stock.

The rejected equipment will mostly be sold outside the European market, the spokesman said. If it’s not possible to sell or donate the items, they will be “processed sustainably,” he added.

The government said it was still calculating the financial consequences. According to De Volkskrant, the Dutch newspaper that first reported the figure, the estimated cost of the rejected items is more than 300 million euros (about $348 million).

The consortium that bought the equipment on behalf of the government worked with “many different information systems,” according to the health ministry, so “the status of the products wasn’t always clear.”

As a result, the health ministry did a new review of the equipment, the spokesman said, which found that it was not suitable for hospitals.

The Netherlands recently reintroduced mask mandates in some public places, among other measures, to try to slow the spread of the virus and ease the growing pressure on the country’s health system. Almost 77,000 people tested positive over the past week, according to Dutch government figures. The C.D.C. has deemed the Netherlands “very high risk.”

In the southern province of Limburg, some hospitals warned that they could no longer handle new Covid patients, saying in a statement that they were “heading straight for a health care blockage, and the entire system is grinding to a standstill.”



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