Coronavirus (Representative image)
The outbreak of Coronavirus has led to the rise in demand for protective masks and sanitisers in India. And with rising demand, price of masks has shot up multiple times.
People are rushing to medical stores to get their hands on either N95 or a simple surgical face mask to prevent themselves from contracting the virus.
"In view of the current situation in China, we have witnessed 10 times & more of growth in demand for face masks, particularly respiratory masks, protective suits, sterile surgical gloves, safety goggles, to curb the spread of Coronavirus," said Vivek Tiwari, Founder, and Chief Executive Officer, Medikabazaar, a B2B online platform for medical supplies and equipment.
Face masks reduce infected persons' ability to spread the virus in the environment.
Tiwari said that in the last few weeks, they have received multiple queries from China, Japan, Singapore, and from within India for face masks. To meet the growing demand, the company has increased the procurement of masks items many folds.
The growing demand is evident from the data shared by All Food and Drug License Holders Foundation (AFDLHF), which represents 7,000 pharmaceutical suppliers from across the country.
The foundation estimated a nearly 100 percent jump in the face mask market in India.
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 up to 1.2 million masks in a month.
In line with face masks, medical store owners agreed that the demand for sanitizer have also surged in the Indian market.
"Before the outbreak of Corona Virus we used to sell around 30-40 sanitizer bottles a month, but now the number has shot up to 100-200 bottles a month," owner of a well-known pharmacy chain said.
Coronavirus is a deadly respiratory virus that originated in China's Wuhan which has killed more than 1770 people and has infected more than 70,000 in the country.
At least 25 countries have reported confirmed cases of the virus, including the US, India, Japan, and the UK. Major airlines have suspended flights to and from China in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus.
According to experts, although disposable face masks block large particles from entering your mouth, a more tight-fitting N95 respirator mask is far more effective at protecting from airborne illnesses.
N95 face mask filters at least 95 percent of airborne particles.
The wholesaler of protective masks is capitalizing on the rising demand and have shot up the prices of masks. According to a source, the masks which was sold to hospitals at 90 paise (wholesale price) is now being sold at Rs 3-3.50.
The average cost of manufacturing these surgical face masks is only around 40-45 paise, while that for N95 mask is about Rs 10-12. The N95 mask is now sold at Rs 400.
With inputs from Viswanath Pilla