Discouraging the hoarding of medical masks and hand sanitisers amid the outbreak of novel Coronavirus (COVID19), the Centre on Friday has stated that stringent action will be taken against those hoarding this essential protective equipment. India has 31 confirmed cases of coronavirus till date. The World Health Organisation is yet to declare COVID-19 a pandemic but has warned of a move in that direction should countries fail to arrest the spread.
Govt will take stringent action against hoarding of face masks, hand sanitisers, says Union minister Sadananda Gowda amid coronavirus outbreak— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) March 6, 2020
Amid the Coronavirus scare in India, the demand for surgical masks has spiked leading to a surge in the prices of the masks up to nearly 300 percent. Not only has this panic led to a surge in the price and demand of surgical masks but it has also affected the prices of N95 masks and sanitizers. Surgical masks that would sell at Rs10 are now allegedly being sold at Rs 40.
The chemists fear a shortage in stock of the said items in a few days as the demand surged massively after the government issued health advisory against the deadly virus. Experts have been advising that those who are healthy should refrain from wearing and hoarding masks since they are more important for those who are infected with the virus so as to arrest the spread of the disease. Masks are also more important for healthcare workers who need to safeguard themselves since they come in contact with patients on a daily basis.
India has reported a total of 31 positive cases of the Coronavirus till date. Three cases were reported in Kerala earlier who have since recovered and have been discharged, one from Delhi who travelled to Italy, one from Telangana who travelled from Dubai, six in Agra, one in Ghaziabad and 16 people in Rajasthan who were in contact with an Italian couple in Jaipur. India initiated required preparedness and action since January 17 at the field level, while WHO raised the level of global risk to a "very high" on February 20, 2020.