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Azerbaijan Catches Smugglers Trying To Sneak Out 1 Million Medical Masks

An employee packs respiratory protective face masks on an assembly line in Mably in central France.

Azerbaijan says it has confiscated more than 1 million medical masks from several groups, including foreigners, who planned to illegally smuggle them out of the South Caucasus nation as countries around the world scramble for equipment to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The Interior Ministry said on March 9 that the smugglers, who have been detained by police, included Iranian, Chinese, and Azerbaijani nationals.

Shortages of medical masks have arisen in many countries where the deadly coronavirus has been reported since the outbreak was first detected in December in China, which has reported more than 80,000 coronavirus cases and more than 3,000 deaths linked to it.

Iran's Health Ministry reported on March 8 that COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, has killed 194 people in the country, with the number of confirmed coronavirus infections at over 6,500.

Based on reporting by Turan and APA