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Masks required for those having symptoms, people close to them: AIIMS doctor on COVID-19 spread

Outside AIIMS and Safdarjung hospital, medical stores are speedily running out of stocks. While surgical masks are still available, many medical shops are running out of better quality masks.

Published: 07th March 2020 08:09 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th March 2020 08:09 AM   |  A+A-

A passenger at the Chennai airport with her face mask on Friday

A passenger at the Chennai airport with her face mask on Friday | Ashwin prasath

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Respiratory masks are now coming at a premium due to a sudden spurt in their demand which is largely being fuelled by fear surrounding over coronavirus. “I tried looking out for masks at medical stores, they are charging at least Rs 100-200 more for the better quality ones. Even the surgical masks are being sold at higher prices. I can compare because I purchase almost throughout the year,” said Sukanya Mitra, a resident of Uttam Nagar said.

Vivek Chauhan from Preet Vihar also faced a similar task.  “Since most of the masks don’t have any manufacturing price labelled on it, the buyers are paying off whatever is being touted. Also, since it is required, consumers have no choice but to purchase.”

Outside AIIMS and Safdarjung hospital, medical stores are speedily running out of stocks. While surgical masks are still available, many medical shops are running out of better quality masks.

“Demand is mostly for middle-priced masks. The costlier ones have selected takers. But, it is true that there is a sudden demand owing to which many shop owners are failing to cope with the surge,” said a medical store owner.

The shops are also experiencing heavy demand because of patients rushing in from these hospitals. “Usually during winter and post Diwali people look for masks. Stores who have stock unsold from that time are able to sell now. The common surgical mask is still available,” noted another one.

A senior doctor has a different opinion on the use of masks. Dr Vijay Hadda, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Pulmonary Medicine and Sleep Disorders, AIIMS, said masks are to be used only by those with symptoms or medical representatives attending patients. “Masks are not required for those who doesn’t have symptoms. The purpose of surgical masks is to prevent from infection and the problem is that it doesn’t fit well. Although, N-95 masks are the best that is not recommended for daily use. It is for doctors,” he added.



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