NUR-SULTAN (Reuters) – Kazakhstan has banned the exports of protective masks after their sales to neighbouring China surged amid the coronavirus outbreak, pushing up local prices and limiting availability.
The Central Asian nation bordering China has not reported any confirmed domestic cases of the virus, but has quarantined dozens of people for tests.
“We would like to note that some producers and distributors have behaved unethically. They sold their stock to China”, a healthcare ministry spokesman told reporters.
The government is also working on securing imports of masks to meet surging demand, he said.
Reporting by Tamara Vaal; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Toby Chopra