European Commission Implements Supply Restrictions Impacting Aid Organizations

Due to concerns related to COVID-19, the European Commission has restricted personal protective equipment (PPE) exports outside the EU on Sunday, March 15th for six weeks. Equipment includes masks, visors, face shields and protective garments. This restriction is causing problems for aid organizations, as there are already PPE shortages due to high demand and hoarding.

Employees work on a production line for surgical masks at a factory in Nantong, Jiangsu province, China (Source: Devex).

COVID-19, which began spreading in China in December 2019, has now affected 143 countries and territories. In an effort to mitigate its effects, countries have imposed travel restrictions and some businesses have temporarily shut down. Many health supplies and medicines from China have delayed their shipment of goods which may cause a shortage of medicine for HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and possibly cancer and antibiotics.

In response, the U.N. Population Fund has approved country offices to procure PPE locally. It is vital that international aid organizations have PPE to protect health workers in populations that may be exposed to the coronavirus. The Global Fund is recommending that partners add 30 days to its lead time in procuring health products.

The long term impact of the supply restrictions won’t be known until the outbreak is better under control.

Read more at Devex.