Russia suspends export of masks amid coronavirus fears

MOSCOW, March 4 (Reuters) - Russia has suspended the export of surgical masks and medical gear including bandages and one-use chemical protection suits, according to a government resolution published on Wednesday, amid fears over the the spread of the coronavirus,.

Russia has not reported any confirmed cases of people contracting coronavirus while inside the country, though six people who got infected elsewhere have received or are receiving treatment in Russia.

The government resolution said the suspension would not affect exports being made for humanitarian reasons or individuals taking items out of the country for their own use.

"It is mainly necessary to prevent a so-called 'artificial deficit' in certain medical items - masks, respirators, antiviral agents that speculators can export abroad," Industry Minister Denis Manturov said. (Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Carmel Crimmins)

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