Coronavirus pandemic: Italian minister criticizes Romania over blocked medical masks shipment
Italy’s foreign affairs minister Luigi Di Maio has criticized Romania’s decision to stop a shipment of medical masks that was supposed to reach his country, Digi24.ro reported, quoting Italian TV station La7.
Answering the question of a journalist of Italian TV station La7 about a shipment of masks purchased by Italy and blocked in Romania, Di Maio spoke of “anti-commercial actions.”
“In the world, there are countries that help and countries that decided to only think of themselves. We denounce the latter. Meaning those who retain our masks. Then, in other cases, we alert the UN or the World Trade Organization that there are countries who undertake anti-commercial actions, because if they block at the customs the masks purchased by a company that belongs to us, not by the Government, but by an Italian company, this is a behavior against the rules of trade,” Di Maio said, quoted by Digi24.
On Wednesday, March 18, Romania's Strategic Communication Group said the Public Health Department decided to stop the shipment of several parcels that were headed for Italy and which contained 10,000 surgical masks, 17,000 home masks, 400 single-use masks, 45 protective suits for medical use and 400 protective wear for shoes. The shipment was stopped at the Avram Iancu International Airport in Cluj-Napoca. It had been posted by a company in Sf. Gheorghe.
Last week, the Romanian authorities announced they were suspending for six months the distribution outside of Romania of all drugs and sanitary supplies used in preventing, diagnosing and treating the Covid-19 infection.
This week, economy minister Virgil Popescu said several local companies were ready to start manufacturing medical masks, protective equipment and biocides.
Italy is the European country hardest hit by the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic. Nearly 3,000 people died from the disease in Italy, and the country reported 475 new fatalities on Wednesday.
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