Thai health authorities have warn people not to lower their guard against the coronavirus. They have also encouraged people to use hand sanitizers and surgical masks to guard against the spread of the new coronavirus.
Due to lack of supply, health authorities demonstrated how to make sanitizing liquids during a televised news conference. “If you can’t find hand sanitizers in stores, make it yourself. Mix clean water with alcohol and carry it wherever you go,” the Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said at the conference.
“We have to protect ourselves against the virus. Eat hot food, use serving spoons, wear masks, wash your hands.”
Price controls on surgical masks
On Thursday, Thailand also started enforcing price control measures on surgical masks and hand sanitizers, amid scarce supplies. As a result, anyone selling overpriced masks and sanitizers faces punishment. Profiteers face up to seven years in jail or up to 140,000 baht ($4,507.41) in fines.
People are allowed to buy up to 10 masks with each purchase. Furthermore anyone exporting more than 500 masks per shipment must also obtain permission from trade authorities first.
Early on Thursday, Thais lined up outside a government pharmacy to stock up before sales started in the afternoon.
Many said they wanted to buy as much as they could due to fears of the virus outbreak.
“Ten surgical masks isn’t really enough, but it’s good to have just in case,” said Chalida Potpanitpong, 65.
To ease the shortages, the Thai government started handing out 45,000 surgical masks for free from Thursday to Saturday at different “risky” locations, mostly tourist areas, in Bangkok.
It will also start selling millions of masks from Saturday onwards through government-sponsored stores across the country.
Thai health has reported that the number of confirmed cases of infection with the coronavirus was steady at 25. Also 16 of them remained at hospitals. Most of the hospitalized people were recovering. The condition of a male coach driver who also had tuberculosis was stable.
The number of patients being monitored for infection stood at 615, with 390 of them still in hospitals.