The U.S. will seize exports of vital protective medical gear until it determines whether the tools should be stored in the nation to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, two federal agencies declared on Wednesday.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will hold exports of respirators, surgical masks, and surgical gloves, in response to a joint statement made with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA will then decide if the tools ought to be returned to be used in the U.S., purchased by the U.S. authorities or exported.
President Trump released a memorandum Friday that directed federal agencies to make use of any authority necessary to keep the extremely sought-after medical supplies in the U.S.
Governors, mayors, and physicians have rung alarm for weeks over crippling shortages of personal protective gear for first-responders and front-line healthcare employees, in addition to ventilators and other medical supplies.
The shift to stop exports will include N95 respirator masks, which filter airborne particles and are used to protect in opposition to COVID-19, the potentially deadly respiratory disease attributable to the novel coronavirus.
A federal regulation that outlines FEMA’s procedures for capturing and vetting the exports will go into effect on Friday and remain in place until August 10.
FEMA will intend to make decisions about exports quickly and seek to attenuate disruptions to the supply network, the draft regulation stated.