The European Commission this week said it has taken immediate steps to protect the availability of supplies of personal protective equipment in the wake of COVID-19.
The Commission is requiring that exports of such equipment outside of the European Union to be subjected to an export authorization by member states.
“The challenges presented by the spread of COVID-19 justify the urgency of this action. No effort is being spared by the Commission to offer concrete help to our citizens and this who take care of them,” Commissioner for Trade Phil Hogan said in a news release.
Personal protective equipment includes masks, protective glasses and visors, face shields, mouth-nose protection and protective garments that are vital needs for hospitals, patients, field workers and civil protection authorities.
The act authorizes exports to third countries and will be valid for six weeks, during which member states will be consulted on the potential adaptations and scope of the current measure and future steps, according to the commission.
Some first-mover member states have already accepted the Commission’s requests to amend national measures to ensure vital equipment is available to those who need it throughout the EU.
The Commission said it would assist member states in setting up mechanisms to ensure smooth and coordinated implementation of the regulation in regards to international engagements, the evolution of urgent needs within and outside the EU and the integration of production and supply chains with such third countries.