EU to deliver masks and protective gear to Switzerland 

Switzerland needs more masks and protective equipment against coronavirus, especially for medical staff. Keystone

There has been a breakthrough which should enable delivery of more masks and coronavirus protective equipment to Switzerland, Economics Minister Guy Parmelin has announced. 

This content was published on March 20, 2020 - 12:08

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen had said on Sunday that the EU would block the export of this material because of the coronavirus pandemic. She had said that masks and other products needed to combat the pandemic could only be exported to third countries with the express permission of the government concerned. 

But after several contacts with EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan, Brussels has instructed European Union member states to stop blocking exports of protective equipment to Switzerland and the other countries of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), Parmelin tweeted on Friday. 

Parmelin thanked both Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga and EU Commission President von der Leyen. 

With coronavirus continuing to spread in Switzerland, doctors are warning of a pending lack of protective gear for medical staff, especially masks. For example, the director of the La Source clinic in the city of Lausanne, Dimitri Djordjèvic, told Swiss public broadcaster RTSExternal link on Friday that he expected supplies to start running out in a week. 

"The authorities are doing the maximum,” he said. “Deliveries are under way but the trucks are blocked at customs. It is a very complicated situation for everyone.” 

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