A sales assistant arranges boxes of face masks at a Pharmhouse Pharmacy outlet in Setia Alam January 28,2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
A sales assistant arranges boxes of face masks at a Pharmhouse Pharmacy outlet in Setia Alam January 28,2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

JOHOR BARU, Jan 28 — The increased public awareness on the threat posed by the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has led to the steep rise in the demand for face masks and hand sanitiser.

Bernama check at several pharmacies in the city found that the two items were selling like hotcakes, to the extent of causing customers being put on waiting lists and having to make early bookings.

Some of the pharmacies even had a notice on their doors saying that they had run out of the items.

A pharmacy worker in Larkin Perdana, Nurul Nazihah Rosli, told Bernama that face masks and hand sanitiser were sold out at the pharmacy four days ago.

“We ordered 200 boxes of face masks and they are all sold out.

“For hand sanitiser, we ordered about 20 bottles of different sizes and they were also sold out,” she said that even the supply was increased threefold, they still insufficient to meet the current demand.

In Kota Kinabalu, Bernama check at several sundry shops, pharmacies and 24-hour convenience stores around the city also found that they had run out of face masks and hand sanitiser.

In fact, a convenience store worker who wanted to be known only as Andy said the shop had run out of the items since last week.

“The new batch of supply will probably arrive next week,” he told Bernama.

Prior to this, the Ministry of Health advised the public to take several precautionary measures, including maintaining a high level of personal hygiene, such as to wash their hands regularly with water and soap or by using hand sanitiser, to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus now that cases have been detected in this region.

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The number of positive cases of 2019-nCoV in Malaysia currently remains at four, all involving China nationals.

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail had also warned of stern action against those who take advantage of the situation by selling the two items at a higher price. — Bernama



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