EU to curb exports of protective gear for coronavirus

  • 13:27 16 March 2020

EU to curb exports of protective gear for coronavirus

Brussels has moved to curb the export of protective equipment for coronavirus outside the EU while warning of possible shortages in shops if member states fail to co-ordinate on border controls, ONA reports. 

The European Commission said on Sunday it had adopted an “authorisation scheme” to restrict sales of the safety gear and would announce guidance on Monday to ease movement of goods and essential workers during the pandemic. 

Ursula von der Leyen, head of the European Commission, said the scheme to keep coronavirus protective equipment inside the EU formed part of a three-pronged strategy including increased production of the gear and efforts to ease exports of it within the bloc according to need. 

“We need to help each other,” she said in a video posted on social media. “By producing more, keeping it in the European Union and sharing with each other we can protect our health workers and patients and contain the spread of the virus.”

She also called on governments to co-ordinate border closures and said the commission would unveil recommendations on how to keep goods and staff in critical jobs moving across frontiers in the face of restrictions. 

“If we do not take action now, shops will start facing difficulties in refilling their stocks of certain products coming from elsewhere in the single market,” she said. “Protecting people’s health should not block goods and essential staff from reaching patients, health systems, factories and shops.”