People across Thailand are crying foul over the shortage of face masks and hand sanitizing gel amid the novel coronavirus outbreak. Public demand has grown since the announcement of Thailand’s first death due to Covid-19.
People are crying foul over the mass shortage of face masks amid the novel coronavirus outbreak. The Private Hospital Association also said their medical personnel have been seriously affected by the face mask shortage.
One more infection was reported on Monday, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 43. The new patient was a 22-year-old Thai woman, who worked as a tour guide along with an already infected patient. A driver for foreign tourists.
The Bangkok Post on Monday conducted a survey of drug stores in Suan Luang, Prawet and Lat Krabang districts. They spoke to pharmacists and owners, who all said their stocks ran out almost a month ago. They also said they did not know when fresh wholesale bulk face masks supplies would be available again.
“We’re out of stock. We sold out of all kinds of face masks and hand sanitizers in the second week of last month,” said a pharmacist at a drug store in the Pattanakarn area.
He said the number of people looking for these items at his store has skyrocketed. Above all since Thailand reported its first coronavirus death.
Face mask shortage nation wide
The face mask shortage isn’t just being felt in Bangkok. Throughout Thailand netizens have complained on social media about face masks being sold out. In northern Thailand’s Chiang Rai city one netizen said she had gone to over 20 pharmacies and all were sold out. She said they also couldn’t say when they would have new stock.
Netizens have also said online retailers are exploiting the situation. Complaining many online shops have started advertising masks at exorbitant prices.
An N-95 protective mask — which normally retails at between 80-95 baht — is being sold online for 190-220 baht apiece. Meanwhile, a simple green-and-blue mask which costs 4 baht at a pharmacy, is being sold online at 15-20 baht each.
The government has already made face masks a price-controlled product. With a fixed price of 2.5 baht apiece, however fewer people can find them for that price. In reality, most people pay 15-30 baht for each mask.
It has also already tried to assure people that masks are being adequately and fairly distributed nationwide. The Commerce Ministry, also imposed penalties on shops and sellers who jack up the prices of masks for a quick profit.
People who find any sellers who sell face masks at inflated prices can inform the Commerce department at 1569.
So far, 51 people have been caught selling masks at inflated prices. They are subject to up to seven months in prison and a maximum fine of 140,000 baht.