The COVID-19 pandemic presents unparalleled health threats to the public, and vast portions of the global economy have been shut down by the following blocking steps to curb the spread of disease. The increasing numbers of Member States are restricting their medical supply exports to eliminate vital national shortages. Another complicating factor is that.

The Gap Between Supply and Demand 

A double threat was raised by the COVID-19 in China, which manufactures half the world's face-masks: domestic demand increases and global production disturbances.

The extreme shortfall of more than 3,000 health care staff in China, including in hospitals, has been evident. China was forced to continue to sell masks to Japan, India, the United States, and Tanzania from several other nations.

Italy, Europe's most badly hit country, has 800,000 South African face masks but still needs at least 10 million more.

In the United States, the Centers for the Detection and Prevention of Diseases specifically discourage human masks, stressing the devastating shortage in healthcare environments. In some hospitals, even N95 masks are running out and can not get more while global stocks are falling.

Since January, Canada has had similar issues. Sadly, the 55 million N95 masks stored in Ontario after SARS expired before the hit in COVID-19.

It is estimated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that every month 89 million medical masks are required. To accommodate this demand, production is projected to rise by 40%.

The Reason 

Despite China now manufacturing some 200 million masks every day, there are various reasons why it has not fulfilled its needs. The first is global demand — the US is not the only country to be used for masks, and in countries like France and Germany, N95 manufacturers have abandoned exports to satisfy their own needs. The latter is the expense. Each mask costs typically about 1 or 2 cents; it now costs 25 to 30 cents to be made. The rise in prices is not inherently due to price gougers. The crazy rush has raised manufacturing costs as China's factories are adding workers, costly equipment, and limiting flight from China to the United States by the Trump administration to avoid transmission of the virus.

China’s Reluctance to Export 

The amount of individually secured equipment is missing in hospitals and healthcare providers and in manufacturing resumes in China, where most safety devices are produced. For almost two months, safety equipment including face shields, gowns, headcover, N95 masks were not made in China. But China steadily resumed its export security equipment over the past week.

The Restrictions

Besides, the World Trade Organization ( WTO) announced that 80 countries and customs territories have forbidden or limited exports of a facial mask or safety apparel, gloves, or other items following the coronavirus epidemic. In addition to 46 WHO members (72 when counted separately by the EU Member States) and eight non-WTO members, but only 13 where EU Member States are included in the EU list.

The WTO usually forbids export sanctions and controls but permits members to temporarily apply them to stop or mitigate severe food shortages and other essential goods. Members who use interim measures must return to the WTO for economic instability to be minimized as much as possible. Suppose a government does not know which other members have taken the steps, and new measures are being applied regularly. In that case, it is difficult for the country to change its buying decisions effectively and locate new suppliers, which could significantly damage those finding the required material to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Albania, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ukraine, Australia, Egypt, Israel, Georgia, Bangladesh, Germany, the Republic of Korea, Thailand, North Macedonia have alerted the WTO by 13 members. The WTO is the largest member state.

How the Mask is Getting Distributed across the World

To support China, India temporarily repealed its constraint, Taiwan, India, and Thailand have forbidden their exports since January, and these have also all become facial masks. As Indonesia may shortly, South Korea has already banned mask exports.

In early March, shipments were also halted outside Asia, Russia, Germany, and the Czech Republic.

However, cross-border fluxes in face masks have also existed. Japan has been declared an example of intense "face diplomacy," helping to reverse decades of antagonism between nations. A million masks donated to China and other supplies and contribute to Japanese businesses.

At the beginning of February, Pope Francis's courtesy carried 600,000 masks to China. It is also stated that China reciprocated Italy, Spain, and South Korea with donations, including masks.

Significance of Health Governance

The insanity that commercial, industrial globalization – the global production chain for masks – leads to and responds to a global health problem is now evident in the sense of global capitalism.

Economic globalization’s technology – supply chains, international airport networks, and the Internet-is primarily built so that resources such as money, documents, products, and workers, can flow smoothly and rapidly.

But it was never more apparent that we now need to reflect on its potential to promote and pose a danger to flows, like wellbeing, which is essential to the public good.

COVID-19's borderless design and global lack of masks warrant more in-depth and expected cooperation in resolving the danger of global disasters from the supply chains. It forces unity between nations and the substantial participation of corporate players, including transnational companies.

For individual nation-states to handle and fix themselves, crises like that are too big and too complicated.



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