China seizes 31m fake face masks amid coronavirus outbreak

China says it has seized more than 31m counterfeit and low-quality face masks as anxiety escalates among the public about the coronavirus outbreak.

Legitimate respiratory masks that meet US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) standards are in short supply as demand rockets and consumers have been buying up stocks both online and in retail stores, according to a Kyodo News report.

Unscrupulous sellers have flooded the market with inferior products to meet the burgeoning demand, even though health authorities don’t recommend the use of masks for the general public, as they are largely ineffective.

There have been nearly 688 cases of fake mask production and distribution in China, involving about 1,560 arrests, according to the news service.

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