The United States will seize exports of key protective medical gear until it determines whether the equipment should be kept in the country to combat the spread of the new coronavirus, two federal agencies announced on Wednesday.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will hold exports of respirators, surgical masks and surgical gloves, according to a joint announcement made with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA will then determine if the equipment should be returned for use in the United States, purchased by the U.S. government or exported.
President Donald Trump issued a memorandum on Friday that directed federal agencies to use any authority necessary to keep the highly sought-after medical supplies in the United States.
Governors, mayors and physicians have voiced alarm for weeks over crippling scarcities of personal protective gear for first-responders and front-line healthcare workers, as well as ventilators and other medical supplies