Turkey eases export rules for medical devices used for virus fight

ISTANBUL (AP) – The Turkish Trade Ministry lifted temporary export restrictions and a requirement for private companies to obtain advance permission before shipping abroad medical equipment used in treating COVID-19.

A notice published on Saturday in Turkey’s Official Gazette rescinded restrictions on exporting ventilators, intubation tubes, life support machines, intensive care unit monitors and other critical care devices.

A government official said the decision reflected Turkey’s decreasing need for the equipment and desire to help other countries facing shortages.

The Trade Ministry also lifted restrictions on the export of ethanol, cologne, disinfectants and hydrogen peroxide.

Turkey, which has a population of 83 million, ranked 8th worldwide on Saturday in total confirmed virus cases by country and 11th in reported virus-related deaths, according to a tally maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The government’s latest figures showed 124,375 confirmed cases, including 3,336 deaths.

The government says it is curbing new infections through contact tracing and partial lockdowns. The Turkish Health Minister has urged people with COIVD-19 symptoms to seek prompt medical attention. Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said hospital capacity is high and that patients who receive early treatment with oxygen and drugs, including the much-debated hydroxychloroquine, are recovering.

Thirty-one provinces in Turkey were on the second day of a three-day lockdown on Saturday. The government also announced on Saturday that a military plane delivered medical aid supplies, including locally produced ventilators, to Somalia. Turkey has sent supplies to at least 55 countries during the pandemic, including the United States.

Stalls closed due to the coronavirus lockdown at the Eminonu shopping district by the Golden Horn in Istanbul. Turkey has imposed partial lockdowns in 31 provinces every weekend and on national holidays amid the new coronavirus pandemic. PHOTO: AP