HELSINKI (1) – The Finnish authorities stated on Friday it has accepted the resignation of the head of the nation’s emergency supply agency over a multi-million euro purchase of Chinese language face masks that proved unsuitable for hospital use.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin earlier stated she had misplaced confidence within the official, Tomi Lounema.

The Nationwide Emergency Supply Centre, which is answerable for buying face masks and different gear to assist deal with the coronavirus pandemic, had paid two Finnish brokers a mixed 10 million euros ($11 million) for face mask deliveries from China.

However the tens of millions of face masks that arrived within the first supply earlier this week have been discovered to be unsuitable to be used in hospitals, whereas native media reported that one of many brokers concerned was in debt and going through court docket orders.

Lounema provided his resignation on Friday, Minister of employment Tuula Haatainen advised a information convention.

The supply that arrived from China on Tuesday was meant to include 2 million surgical masks and 230,000 different face masks. However the masks have been shortly discovered to not be appropriate for hospital use resulting from their low high quality, the ministry stated on Wednesday.

“The protecting gear market is very chaotic for the time being. There are every kind of merchants and costs rise on a regular basis,” Lounema stated earlier within the week.

Finnish weekly Suomen Kuvalehti and the nation’s largest each day, Helsingin Sanomat, reported that the primary supply of masks have been purchased by way of an agent who beforehand ran a short-term mortgage enterprise and who faces court docket orders for money owed. 1 was not in a position to confirm the stories or to contact the agent for remark.

The emergency supply centre holds reserves for several types of disaster, and it had been holding tens of millions of face masks following the 2009 swine flu pandemic, which in the long run didn’t attain Finland.

Attributable to excessive demand because of the coronavirus outbreak, nonetheless, its provides are working low and the centre has been attempting to purchase extra gear by way of a number of suppliers.

Reporting by Anne Kauranen; Enhancing by John Stonestreet and Hugh Lawson