A surgical shop in Kerala has reportedly sold thousands of masks at Rs 2 to the needy people amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Kochi shop owner has shown the way especially at a time when governments are struggling to stop medical shops from selling masks and hand-sanitisers at a higher price due to shortage.
The shop, Cochin Surgicals, located in Pachalam sold over 5,000 masks within two days and focussed on selling it to medical teams and hospitals according to reports. The owners, Thasleem and Nadheem, said that they were not worried about the impact on their business at a time of crisis.
The duo reportedly decided to sell all the stock they had at a lower price when they heard about mask shortages for hospital staff. They said that most of the masks have been sold to medical teams and hospitals and hoped that their initiative would inspire other people to follow suit.
Meanwhile, the Delhi government has formed teams to take action against suppliers who are overcharging for masks and sanitizers and those hoarding these items. Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain re-emphasised that N95 masks should only be used by healthcare workers or those who are showing symptoms.
Jain’s statement came after reports of pharmacies preventing the sale of N95 masks emerged. Price gouging and hoarding has become a major concern during the fight against the novel coronavirus which has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation. Pharmacists have alleged that the wholesale dealers have hiked the price after the surge in demand due to the growing threat.
"We have stopped selling N95 masks as the wholesale suppliers are selling it to us at high prices. And if we ask customers to pay the increased price, they fight with us thinking that it is we who are increasing the prices," said a pharmacist in Connaught Place.
(With inputs from agencies)