Switzerland has introduced temporary restrictions on the export of protective equipment to head off shortages among medical staff and others fighting the coronavirus outbreak.
Licences will now be needed to export masks, gloves, goggles and swabs as of March 26, the government said on Wednesday.
Exceptions to the licensing requirement will apply to the European Union as well as Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein as long as they treat Switzerland the same way, it added.
Economics Minister Guy Parmelin said the decision was in line with EU regulations.
“It is a precautionary measure and is not intended to create more problems,” he said. “It’s the least we can do for the Swiss population to avoid a shortage of necessary medical equipment in an emergency situation.”
Also on Wednesday, the Swiss government extended entry restrictions to all other 25 Schengen states. The measures previously applied to the neighbouring countries and Spain.
Citizens of Switzerland and Liechtenstein, people with a Swiss residence permit and people who have to travel to Switzerland for work-related reasons or because of an emergency will continue to be allowed to enter the country. Travellers may continue to transit through Switzerland and movements of goods are still permitted.
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