China has seized over 31 million fake or inferior face masks, the country's public security authorities reported Wednesday, shedding light on the desperation brought on by the country's mask shortage.
Despite donations from numerous countries, the outbreak has caused a severe shortage of medical face masks in many parts of China as residents quickly snapped up inventories at both brick and mortar and online shops.
The government responded in late January by strengthening efforts to crack down on vendors who sell counterfeit masks or engage in price gouging online.
Some companies like Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., better known as Foxconn, an electronics manufacturer that previously had nothing to do with medical supply manufacturing, have responded to the shortage by purchasing new production lines to produce masks, according to China Daily.
But as of Feb. 11, Chinese mask production capacity has been restored to 94 percent of normal levels, the country's top economic regulator said, according to the state-owned media.
So far, authorities have cracked down on 688 cases involving the production and sale of counterfeit and inferior protective materials and arrested more than 1,560 suspects, Du Hangwei, vice minister of the Ministry of Public Safety told a press briefing in Beijing on Wednesday, Xinhua News reported.