Coronavirus outbreak: Indian cities face surge in demand for face masks, hand sanitizers

WION Web Team New Delhi, India Feb 14, 2020, 08.24 PM(IST) Edited By: Sparshita Saxena

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

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Online portals are also experiencing a surge in demand for N95 masks.

Amid the deadly coronavirus outbreak, in most parts of the world manufacturers are struggling to meet the burgeoning demand for protective masks and hand sanitizers. 

According to reports, the demand for hand sanitizers and protective masks has gone through the roof in Indian metropolitan cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru. 

Reports suggest that the total market for masks alone has doubled than the last year. 

Online portals are also experiencing a surge in demand for N95 masks. Recently, as per a report, Kerala's surgical stores ran out of N95 protective masks. 

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All Food and Drug License Holders Foundation has estimated a nearly 100 per cent jump in the face mask market in the country. The foundation represents 7,000 pharmaceutical suppliers from across the country. 

As per the estimates, the demand for protective face masks in the country has shot up from 0.6 to 0.7 million masks to 1 to 1.2 million masks in a month. 

In Bengaluru, people are buying masks to prevent being infected though no positive cases of coronavirus infection have been reported in the city so far.

Nandani, a resident said, "We want to protect ourselves. Since it is a flu season, people get affected by viruses very easily. It is better to stay safe."

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Confirming the increase in sales of the mask, a chemist owner Sangmesh, said, "We are selling masks daily. People are asking for N95 mask but we are out if stock so they are buying a normal mask."

Cities like Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Jaipur are also experiencing a spike in the demand for masks, hand sanitizers and soaps. 

India had banned the export of personal protection equipment such as masks and clothing amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Later this month, New Delhi allowed the export of gloves, disposable masks, surgical mask barring personal protection equipment such as N95 masks. 

China on Friday confirmed 116 more deaths due to coronavirus with the death toll rising to 1,483 with as many as 4,823 new cases.

According to the health ministry, 64,600 people have now been infected with the virus nationwide.