Turkey has subjected protective products such as masks, goggles and sterile gloves to export restrictions, according to a regulation published in the Official Gazette on Wednesday.
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 Ankara, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.
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.