At least 5 countries - including a poor Caribbean island - are accusing the US of blocking or taking medical equipment they need to fight the coronavirus
- The US has been accused of blocking or diverting medical goods that have been ordered by other countries to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
- In the last week, Germany, France, and Brazil have individually claimed that their medical supply orders from China were diverted in suspicious circumstances.
- The government of Barbados said that US officials blocked the export of 20 ventilators which had been donated to the island.
- The Trump administration said the reports of US misconduct are "completely false."
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The US has been accused of commandeering shipments of masks, ventilators, and other essential medical equipment destined for other countries, as the market for coronavirus supplies becomes increasingly fraught.
Government officials are questioning methods used by the White House to acquire supplies, said to include diverting a shipment of masks intended for German police, and outbidding the original buyers on a large shipment of protective gear bound for France.
The Trump administration has pushed back hard against the reports, describing them in a statement to Politico as "completely false."
These are the countries that have so far been affected.
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In what one German official called "an act of modern piracy", 200,000 masks bound for Berlin from China were confiscated en route in Thailand and then diverted to the US on April 3.
On the same day, French officials claimed that a mask order coming from China was bought from under them at the last moment. They cargo was already on the runway in Shanghai when it was bought for much more money, they said.
On the Caribbean island of Barbados, a minister said that ventilators donated to the government were blocked from being exported by the US.
In Brazil, an order for medical equipment from China was ignored after the US sent around 20 cargo planes to pick up the same products for itself.
US manufacturing company 3M confirmed on April 3 that the Trump administration ordered it to stop exporting its ventilators from its US production sites to Canada and Latin America. The block was later reversed.
Some US states have now also found themselves competing against each other and the federal government for essential medical supplies.
However, the US is not the only country accused of similar tactics.
The Trump administration has denied any wrongdoing, and says it is using only "appropriate channels" to source equipment. A senior Trump administration official told Politico that reports of US misconduct are "completely false."
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