Turkey subjects protective gear to export controls
Turkey has subjected protective products such as masks, goggles, and sterile gloves to export controls, according to a regulation published in the Official Gazette on March 4.
The move aims to meet domestic demand as the novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19, continues to spread worldwide, Turkish Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan told a press conference in the capital Ankara.
Stating that there are no reported cases of the virus in Turkey, Pekcan added: "As it is likely that the outbreak will be seen in our country, we decided to subject protective gear exports to prior authorization to manage domestic demand."
Sales of protective masks surged in the last two months, rising 45 percent in January and 70 percent in February, she said.
"Production in Turkey is capable of meeting our domestic needs, but global demand is huge," Pekcan added.
First detected in Wuhan, China in December, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 73 countries.
The global death toll from the virus is over 3,000, with more than 89,000 infected.
After declaring the outbreak an international health emergency, last week the World Health Organization raised the global risk level to very high.