A poster calling on more hand washing instead of purchasing masks is seen at a pharmacy in Berlin, capital of Germany, March 3, 2020. Germany's confirmed cases of COVID-19 have increased to 188 on Tuesday from 150 a day earlier, according to Robert Koch Institute (RKI), a federal government agency and research institute responsible for disease control and prevention. (Xinhua/Shan Yuqi)
A poster calling on more hand washing instead of purchasing masks is seen at a pharmacy in Berlin, capital of Germany, March 3, 2020. Germany's confirmed cases of COVID-19 have increased to 188 on Tuesday from 150 a day earlier, according to Robert Koch Institute (RKI), a federal government agency and research institute responsible for disease control and prevention. (Xinhua/Shan Yuqi)

The German government prohibited the export of face masks and other medical protective equipment, the governmental crisis unit which was set up to counteract the novel coronavirus in Germany announced on Wednesday.

“Exceptions are only possible under strict conditions, including in the context of concerted international aid operations,” according to a joint statement of the crisis unit of Germany’s Ministry of the Interior (BMI) and Germany’s Ministry of Health (BMG).

Laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Germany increased to 240 on Wednesday from 188 a day earlier, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), a federal government agency and research institute responsible for disease control and prevention.

The government’s crisis unit noted the “extreme urgency of obtaining medical protective equipment” and BMG therefore now procured protective equipment centrally for medical practices, hospitals and federal authorities.

German citizens in other European countries who had to go into quarantine on the instructions of local authorities “should complete the quarantine”, the crisis team recommended. German citizens who were in quarantine in a hotel on Tenerife, for example, could not return home before March 10.

German Health Minister Jens Spahn explained that there were “restrictions on everyday life” because some public facilities such as schools and kindergartens in Germany were temporarily closed and major events had been cancelled.

“In case of doubt, the safety of the population takes precedence, even over economic interests,” said Spahn in a speech in the German Bundestag on Wednesday.

“The situation remains very dynamic,” warned Spahn. “Being well prepared means being able to react flexibly to developments.” Enditem

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