At the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak in China, Italy had donated personal protection equipment (PPE) to Beijing and now when Rome is in dire need of the same, China is making them buy it back, a report in The Spectator has claimed.

According to reports, after the new coronavirus made its way to Italy, decimating the country’s significant elderly population, China told the world it would donate PPE to help Italy stop its spread.

Reports later indicated that China had actually sold, not donated, the PPE to Italy. A senior Trump administration official told The Spectator that it was much worse than that as “Beijing forced Italy to buy back the supply that it gave to China during the initial outbreak”.


“Before the virus hit Europe, Italy sent tons of PPE to China to help China protect its own population,” the administration official explained.

“China then has sent Italian PPE back to Italy — some of it, not even all of it… and charged them for it,” he added.

Unfortunately, China’s diplomacy in the wake of the pandemic outbreak has been slippery.

Much of the supplies and testing kits that China sold to other countries have turned out to be defective.

Spain had to return 50,000 quick-testing kits to China after discovering that they were faulty.

In some cases, instead of apologising or fixing the issue, China has blamed others for the defective equipment. It reportedly told the Netherlands to “double-check the instructions” on its masks, after the country had complained that half of the masks did not meet safety standards.

“China has a special responsibility to help because they are the ones who began the spread of the coronavirus and did not give the information required to the rest of the world to plan accordingly,” the official said, adding that China’s “disinformation campaign” of lying to the world about the seriousness of its COVID-19 outbreak further delayed the response by other countries.