Turkey limits export of respiratory support gear as coronavirus cases surge

FILE PHOTO: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan talks during a news conference following a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) meeting in Ankara, Turkey, March 18, 2020. Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish companies seeking to export medical tools used for respiratory support will need permission from authorities under a decree issued on Thursday aimed a meeting domestic demand as the number of coronavirus cases in the country surges.

The death toll from the highly contagious respiratory disease has risen to 59, with 2,433 confirmed cases in Turkey in the last two weeks.

Companies will need permission to export ventilators and related gear, oxygen concentrators, intubation tubes and intensive care monitors, and other medical equipment, according to a decree on the Official Gazzette.

Ankara previously said it would stop exporting locally made face masks.

Separately, the Interior Ministry said all municipality meetings in April, May and June, should be postponed except under extraordinary circumstances.

Ankara has taken a series of measures to contain the virus including a partial curfew on the elderly, closing schools, cafes and bars, banning mass prayers, and suspending sports matches and flights.

President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that Turkey will overcome the coronavirus outbreak in two to three weeks.

Reporting by Nevzat Devranoglu and Ece Toksabay; Writing by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Dominic Evans

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