Huawei doesn’t produce Covid-19 test components, UK not pulling out of 5G contract

“Britain pulls out of 5G contract with Chinese firm Huawei after test kits were found contaminated with Corona virus,” reads the headline of an article on the India-based site Organiser.org.

The article has been shared on Facebook. But its claims are unfounded.

What is Britain’s relationship with Chinese firm Huawei, and what does it have to do with test kits for Covid-19?

Contaminated test kits nothing to do with Huawei

British newspaper the Telegraph reported on 30 March 2020 that laboratories across the UK were expecting delays in Covid-19 testing efforts. The delays were a result of some testing kit components being contaminated with the coronavirus that causes the disease.

The particular test kits had been ordered from Luxembourg-based company Eurofin. Eurofin had found that some “core” components of their testing kits were contaminated, and delivery of viable test kits would therefore be delayed.

Except this relatively minor incident has been badly miscommunicated. Organiser.org has published another article, by Creative Destruction Media, to back up its claim that Eurofin’s contaminated parts were produced in China. This article only quotes Eurofin as saying parts came from “other countries”, and the source it cites does not actually include this claim.

Eurofin has not blamed China for the issues, and the test kits were neither delivered nor used in the UK. Additionally, the test kits have nothing to do with telecoms firm Huawei, which has pledged to help fight Covid-19, but not by producing test kits.

Britain’s history with Huawei

Britain has had a somewhat controversial relationship with Huawei. After the US accused the company of posing a security risk, Britain announced a controversial decision to continue trading with Huawei.

The decision, announced in January 2020, allowed Huawei and other “high risk vendors” to provide infrastructure for Britain’s proposed 5G telecommunications network, although it capped their involvement at a 35% market share.

The decision was challenged in March, when members of Britain’s Conservative party proposed an amendment that would exclude Huawei completely. The amendment lost a parliamentary vote, and will not be implemented.

Since then, neither prime minister Boris Johnson nor any other member of the UK government has announced a repeal of the Bill that allows Huawei to provide 5G infrastructure. It certainly has not pulled out of the arrangement, as Organiser.org claims. – Keegan Leech


 

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