Speaking to Lusa, Ana Paula Gonçalves acknowledged the existence of a batch of 1,500 masks without “the characteristics appropriate to the exercise of hospital activity”, some of which were distributed to health professionals, as it was not detected that they were inadequate masks.

The complaint came from a CHUA doctor, who, on a social network, on Monday, 18 May, warned that he had received non-surgical masks from China, whose packaging says they are not for medical use, but are suitable for pest control, cleaning, cooking, animal care and other hygienic purposes.

"I am sorry that the professional has not communicated to us and has decided to communicate to social networks," said Ana Paula Gonçalves, stressing that if the situation had been "reported directly" to the administration, through internal channels, the masks would have been "removed early".

Questioned by Lusa about the provenance of the masks, the official said she preferred not to reveal who made the donation, stressing that the CHUA administration did not question “the quality and goodness of the donation”.

Ana Paula Gonçalves also said that the administration never intended to "deceive" the professionals by providing inappropriate masks, otherwise it had "put them in other packaging" than the original, ensuring that the error was soon corrected.

“We received hundreds of thousands of masks here, either through donations or through acquisition. In 300 or 400 thousand these can be mixed, without those responsible for distribution being aware of it”, she justified.

The masks will now be used for other purposes and distributed by professionals who clean bathrooms or wash gardens, she concluded.