The novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 is leading to shortages of sanitisation items and recently exorbitant prices have been levied upon the respective items.
“Not everyone can afford masks now, which has shot up to 500 rupees now. Even surgical masks that were available at mere 10 rupees are being now sold at 50 rupees. The shopkeepers claim they will levy more prices if the shortage of sanitisation items continue”, narrated Rajeev Gupta, who came to buy an N95 mask at Bengali Market, Delhi.
This price gouging will have a severe impact on the fight against Coronavirus. The shopkeepers in Connaught Place, Delhi are of the view that the situation is going out of hand.
“The demand for masks generally goes up during Diwali owing to Air pollution and when such outbreaks take place. We have limited availability of these throughout the year except during Diwali. With the sudden increase in demand for masks, sanitisers, the wholesalers are taking advantage of the situation and it’s having a trickling down effect”, justified one of the shopkeepers of a medical store in C.P, Delhi.
Another shopkeeper adds, “ We generally sell 10-14 masks daily, now the demand has gone up to an average of 100 daily, retailers are going out of stock, even wholesalers are facing similar problems. The demand for masks and panic among people due to the novel coronavirus is more than what was witnessed during peak air pollution around Diwali.”
The fast-spreading coronavirus has pushed up prices on hand sanitiser and surgical face masks by at least 50 per cent on Amazon. Consumers are paying the price helplessly.
“At a time when there is a high risk of catching the virus, we need measures to monitor the market prices too, need to cap prices on online portals. While other countries are worst affected in comparison to India, we should be prepared for anything,” said another customer who had come to purchase sanitisation items.
While government advisories recommend constant usage of Masks and sanitisers at a high frequency, along with shortages and high prices charged at medical shops, people have been facing counterfeit mask problems too. Third-party sellers on reputed online portals are mischievous enough to sell counterfeit masks at high prices, many people in the urgency are booking masks on online portals and are getting duped with low-quality products.