After losing more than 16,000 of its citizens to the coronavirus, Italy has been forced to buy back medical equipment it donated to China during the initial disease outbreak, according to a new report.
Spectator USA, quoting a high-ranking Trump administration official, reported that Italy sent loads of personal protective equipment to China as the novel coronavirus began to spread throughout Hubei province and eventually other parts of China earlier this year.
The Trump administration official said Italy, the country that has been hardest hit by the coronavirus in terms of deaths reported with more than 16,500, was charged for the return of the PPE.
“Before the virus hit Europe, Italy sent tons of PPE to China to help China protect its own population,” the anonymous administration official told Spectator USA.
The anonymous source said that not only did China neglect to return the donation in its entirety but it charged for what it did send back.
“China then has sent Italian PPE back to Italy — some of it, not even all of it … and charged them for it,” the source said.
The anonymous official also told the outlet that China’s communist government is responsible for the global pandemic because it withheld vital information about the virus from the global health community.
“It’s so disingenuous for Chinese officials now to say we are the ones who are helping the Italians or we are the ones who are helping the developing world when, in fact, they are the ones who infected all of us,” the person said.
Numerous reports indicate that China, upon discovering the severity of the virus in Hubei’s capital city of Wuhan, immediately began a campaign of disinformation and punished health care workers for speaking about the virus.
News that China charged Italians for the return of its donated PPE is the latest piece of evidence that the authoritarian regime is acting in bad faith as it attempts to portray itself as a global leader in humanitarian COVID-19 aid.
A week ago, countries across Europe and the Mediterranean reported equipment it received from China was defective.
Health officials in the Netherlands reported that 600,000 face masks the country received from China were faulty and could not be used, the BBC reported.
After reporting issues with the masks, Dutch health officials said in a statement, “The rest of the shipment was immediately put on hold and has not been distributed.”
“Now it has been decided not to use any of this shipment,” the officials added.
Turkish officials reported similar issues with faulty test kits, the BBC reported.
According to Fox News, Georgia and the Czech Republic are among the countries that received faulty coronavirus test kits from China.
Many are questioning whether China has misrepresented the number of cases and deaths it has reported.
Bloomberg reported that three anonymous U.S. intelligence officials said China has intentionally concealed its actual number of cases.
As of Monday, China has reported only about 82,000 total COVID-19 cases among its population of 1.4 billion people, while the global number of cases reported currently sits at more than 1.3 million, according to Johns Hopkins.
By contrast, Italy has reported more than 132,00 cases and more than 16,500 deaths among its population of approximately 60 million.
There are others questioning China’s apparent efforts to halt the global spread of the virus as a way to bolster its geopolitical standing.
Writing for The Hill, Mark Minevich said, “Chinese officials have recently stated that the regime will take advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to build a ‘Health Silk Road.’ This should serve as a big wakeup call to all. A world under China would be a nightmare.”
“The disinformation that China has put out is crippling responses around the world. We were a month behind because the Chinese did not share information,” the anonymous Trump administration official told Spectator USA.
“It’s hard for the world to accept that even the information that they’re putting out now is accurate and acceptable from an epidemiological standpoint. We’re operating on some level with a hand tied behind our back,” the person concluded.