Indonesia to ban face mask exports to ensure domestic supply

FILE PHOTO: Passengers wearing protective masks wait at departures at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Tangerang near Jakarta, Indonesia, March 12, 2020. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia will temporarily ban the export of face masks to safeguard domestic supply amid the coronavirus outbreak, Trade Minister Agus Suparmanto said on Friday.

“We will issue a temporary export ban for mask products to meet demand from domestic industries and consumers,” Suparmanto told reporters. The ban will be kept in place until the government is satisfied local supply is adequate, he said.

Prices for face masks have jumped in some parts of Indonesia as buyers stock up on protective supplies such as masks and hand sanitizers due to worries about the coronavirus.

Reporting by Maikel Jefriando; Writing by Fransiska Nangoy; Editing by Tom Hogue