Coronavirus pandemic has left people hunting for two things in particular, face masks and hand sanitiser, to the extent that shops are running short of supplies. The limited supplies of hand sanitisers and face masks, declared essential commodities by the government, are available at higher prices than normal.
However, a surgical shop in Kerala’s Kochi is acting like a good Samaritan and has made the masks available at a price of Rs 2 per piece to the the most needy- hospitals and medical teams. The shop has sold over 5,000 masks in just two days, The News Minute reported.
The shop owner bought the masks for Rs 10 per piece from the manufacturers and sold them at Rs 2. The owners of the shop Cochin Surgicals, Thasleem and Nadheem, said that despite incurring losses by selling the masks at lower price, they were not worried about the business.
"Kerala is going through a one-of-a-kind situation now. We don't know what's going to happen, maybe tomorrow I might contract the disease. When we heard there was a shortage of masks, especially for hospital staff, we suddenly decided to sell all the stock we had at a low price. And within two days, our stock has been completed. Most was sold to medical teams and hospitals," Thasleem was quoted as saying by The News Minute.
The COVID-19 virus has infected 83 people in India so far, while two lives have been lost to the disease declared as pandemic by the World Health Organisation. Kerala has reported 19 cases of the infection so far.
The government on Friday declared face masks and hand sanitisers as essential commodities for the next 100 days as it stepped up efforts to boost supply and prevent hoarding of these items in its fight to check the spread of Coronavirus.
The Centre has also invoked the Disaster Management Act to ensure price regulation and availability of surgical and protective masks, hand sanitisers and gloves.
The government pointed out that masks and hand sanitisers are either not available in the market or are available with great difficulty at exorbitant prices, in view of the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19. It has also issued an advisory under the Legal Metrology Act.
The demand for the masks has spiked amid the virus scare even as the Health department has said that there is no need to wear a mask all the time.
(With inputs from agencies)