DUBAI: The Spanish government said on Friday that Turkey had blocked a delivery of medical supplies urgently needed to help tackle the coronavirus outbreak in the country, local daily El Pais reported.
Spain had yet to receive the respirators it had bought after Turkey “decided to keep them in case they may need them in their battle against coronavirus,” Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya said during a press conference.
The newly appointed minister of Spain - which on Saturday has briefly overtaken Italy as the country with the second-highest number of COVID-19 infections - said the equipment remained in Turkish custody over Ankara’s restrictions on the export of medical devices.
Last month Turkey’s trade minister said the country was restricting the export of respirator-related medical equipment in order to meet domestic needs.
Ruhsar Pekcan said that the export of equipment including ventilators, intubation devices and intensive care monitors would be subject to government authorization.
The respirators had been manufactured in Turkey on behalf of a Spanish company that had brought components from China, sources from Castilla-La Mancha and Navarra told Spanish daily El Mundo.
The Spanish embassy said it had been trying to resume the delivery of the respirators, which were particularly bought by the two local communities with critically ill coronavirus patients, according to unnamed sources cited by El Pais.