- Title: Masks disappear from Pakistani markets amid panic over coronavirus
- Date: 14th March 2020
- Summary: KARACHI, PAKISTAN (MARCH 13, 2020) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF EXTERIOR OF MEDICAL STORE VARIOUS OF MASKED CUSTOMER IN MEDICAL STORE SANITIZERS ON SHOP SHELF VARIOUS OF CUSTOMER BUYING SANITIZERS (SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) KARACHI CHEMIST, MOHAMMAD IRFAN, SAYING: "Masks of all types are in short supply - normal masks, cloth masks and N95 masks. We are getting phone calls from everywhere, from government people, private people, acquaintances, friends and relatives, all asking for masks. Some people have started a business on this. They buy them from one place at a lower price, then sell them elsewhere at a higher price, then onwards at an even higher price. This is happening." MEDICINES IN PHARMACY SHELF CUSTOMER TALKING TO PHARMACY SALESMEN (SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) CUSTOMER AT CHEMIST SHOP, KAMRAN RAZA, SAYING: "I have been very upset since last night, when the news came that school holidays have been extended till May 30. I got up early in the morning to buy masks. Believe me I have searched through Karachi's entire Light House area and the huge surgical market at Lucky Star, but masks are not available because of coronavirus." LAHORE, PAKISTAN (MARCH 13, 2020) (REUTERS) CUSTOMERS STANDING INSIDE PHARMACY CUSTOMER PAYING CASHIER BOX OF MASKS AND HAND SANITIZERS ON COUNTER HAND SANITIZERS PHARMACY OWNER MOHAMMAD BABAR WORKING AT HIS DESK (SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) SECRETARY UNION OF CHEMISTS LAHORE, MOHAMMAD BABAR, SAYING: "Unfortunately we mainly import masks from China. That has now totally stopped. Our local manufacturing (of surgical masks) is almost negligible. These are the reasons that masks are either not available at all, or are available in very limited quantities." CUSTOMER AT PHARMACY COUNTER (SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) LAHORE CHEMIST, MOHAMMAD USMAN, SAYING: "Although they are available at a higher price, the government is saying masks should be sold for Rs 5 ($ 0.032) each. We sold them for Rs 5, and we have ran out of masks. But now we cannot get any masks for Rs 5, so we are not ordering any more. In the same way, the demand for sanitizers has suddenly increased. We sold them at the price at which we had purchased them, so we ran out of sanitizers also." ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN (MARCH 13, 2020) (REUTERS) CUSTOMER PICKING HAND SANITIZER HAND SANITIZER VARIOUS OF HOUSEWIFE MEHNAZ HISHAM BUYING MEDICINES BOTTLES OF HAND SANITIZERS ON STORE SHELF ANTI-BACTERIAL WIPES (SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) HOUSEWIFE, MEHNAZ HISHAM, SAYING: "I have been to all pharmacies, I cannot find it. I just don't know what to do. I think we have to repent for our sins, and then maybe we can get them. I have been to all the pharmacies that I know; I have been everywhere, but I cannot find it." PHARMACY ASSISTANT AT COUNTER HANDS TYPING (SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) ISLAMABAD CHEMIST, MOHAMMAD AFZAL, SAYING: "Masks are not available because people have stored them. There is no shortage of masks, they have just been hoarded in large quantities. That is why they have become more costly." VARIOUS OF CUSTOMERS IN PHARMACY
- Keywords: Pakistan coronavirus face masks
- Reuters ID: LVA001C50UZPJ
- Location: KARACHI/ LAHORE/ ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN
- City: KARACHI/ LAHORE/ ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN
- Country: Pakistan
- Duration: 00:04:00
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Story Text:Face masks disappeared from Pakistani markets and prices of sanitizers shot up amid panic over the COVID-19 outbreak, after the country shut all its schools and land borders on Friday (March 13).
The measures, which also included limiting international flights and discouraging large gatherings in a bid to halt the spread of the coronavirus, were announced after a meeting of the national security council chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Pakistan borders China and Iran, both of which have been hit hard by the virus. It has reported 28 cases of the coronavirus but no deaths. Most of the victims had a history of travelling to Iran, though Pakistan reported its first locally contracted case on Friday.
Pakistan, like most South Asian countries, has a poor public medical care system ill-equipped to deal with any large scale health emergency such as coronavirus.
The World Health Organisation and some governments, like those in Australia and Singapore, have urged people to not buy or wear the masks unless they are sick. Other countries, like South Korea, have launched public information campaigns to encourage everyone to wear masks, while experts also said wrong handling of masks could even increase infection risk.
(Production: Waseem Sattar, Naeem Abbas, Salahuddin, Sheree Sardar)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2020. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Embargoed:28th March 2020 06:47
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None