TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan plans to block foreign companies from acquiring domestic drug and medical equipment makers, to protect access to medicine and ventilators that have proven critical amid the coronavirus outbreak, a media report said on Wednesday.

The Japanese government will add companies that specialise in vaccines, medicine and advanced medical equipment to its list of businesses deemed critical to national security, the Nikkei financial daily said.

The move comes as Japan’s Fujifilm Holdings Corp’s <4901.T> has gained global attention for its anti-flu drug Avigan, which is being tested as a treatment for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

German government sources told Reuters last month that the U.S. administration was looking into how it could gain access to a potential vaccine being developed by German firm, CureVac. German officials have said they wanted to ensure that vaccines against the coronavirus were developed in Germany and Europe.

(Reporting by Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Alex Richardson)