Certain pharmacies in the national capital have stopped selling the N95 face masks, alleging that wholesale dealers have increased the prices since there has been a surge in demand in the markets due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
"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.
One of the customers, Jitendra Singh who wished to buy the N95 mask said that these masks are not available in the market, and certain chemists are selling it at higher prices.
Delhi: Some pharmacies have stopped selling N95 masks due to increase in prices amid #COVID19 pandemic.A pharmacist in Connaught Place says,"We've stopped selling N95 masks as wholesellers are selling it to us at high prices&if we ask customers for more money they fight with us". pic.twitter.com/XLJs3tyUZk— ANI (@ANI) March 14, 2020
As the national capital runs short of protective masks and hand sanitizers, the Delhi government on Saturday formed teams to take action against suppliers who are overcharging for masks and sanitizers and those hoarding these items at a time when Coronavirus crisis is deepening, Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain said. The Minister also emphasized that not all people need to wear N95 masks.
"N95 masks should only be used by healthcare workers or those who are displaying symptoms, not healthy people. We have also constituted teams to take action against hoarding and overcharging for masks and sanitizers," Satyendra Jain told news agency ANI.
He added that the Delhi government has already issued an advisory to citizens regarding precautionary measures against COVID-19. A total of 518 isolation beds have been set up in 25 hospitals.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday, March 12 stated that the Delhi Government is all prepared to tackle the situation. Declaring Coronavirus as an epidemic in Delhi, CM Kejriwal also announced shutting all the theatres and schools/colleges till March 31.
"We are declaring Coronavirus as an epidemic in Delhi. All cinema halls to remain shut in Delhi till March 31. Schools and colleges where exams are not being held will also remain closed. We are also making it compulsory for public places like government offices and private offices to disinfect their premises every day," Kejriwal said.
The total number of positive COVID-19 cases in India has risen to 84 with two fatalities reported as of Friday, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said.
(With inputs from agencies)