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Kazakhstan Bans Exports Of Protective Masks To China Amid Coronavirus Fears

Medical staff transfer patients to the newly completed Huoshenshan temporary field hospital in Wuhan, China, on February 4.

Kazakhstan has banned the exports of protective masks after their sales to neighboring China surged amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Kazakhstan, which has a 1,800-kilometer-long border with China, has not reported any confirmed domestic cases of the virus, but has quarantined dozens of people for tests.

"We would like to note that some producers and distributors have behaved unethically. They sold their stock to China," a Health ministry spokesman told the media on February 6.

The government is also working on securing imports of masks to meet surging demand, he said.

The virus has killed 563 people in mainland China, with more than 28,000 confirmed cases. Two people have also died outside mainland China, one in Hong Kong and one in the Philippines.

Based on reporting by Reuters