Face mask prices skyrocket in Indonesia as fears over coronavirus mount
UNTV News • February 13, 2020 • 590
Prices of face masks spiked nearly 10 times in Indonesia triggered by fears over the spread of the deadly coronavirus, as a consumer group head urged the authorities to step in to regulate the growing price.
A seller Bambang Darmadi in Jakarta’s Pramuka market that sells medical equipment told Reuters a box of 50-piece mask is now being sold for around 20 dollars, compared to approximately two dollars before the outbreak. He said the prices increase daily by nearly a dollar.
Over 1,300 people had died from the flu-like virus on Wednesday (February 13) and more than 60,000 people have been infected.
Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country, has so far not recorded any cases.
But locals have been hoarding masks on worries that prices will increase should there be an outbreak in the country of 260 million people.
Locals said they could not find new masks in many places and had to wear their old ones over and over.
The price-gouging selling is not due to scarcity but due to hoarding practice in the ‘middle level’ like distributors for the return of higher profit, head of Indonesian Consumer Foundation said.
“Someone has distorted the market. We ask the government to regulate ceiling price for health equipment like masks,” said Tulus Abadi, adding that there is no regulation on price setting.
Authorities around the world sought to calm panic buying of masks seen as a guard against the fast-spreading coronavirus. Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines had arrested nearly a dozen of people for selling overpriced masks, according to local reports. (Reuters)
MANILA, Philippines — National Task Force Against Covid-19 chairperson and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Sunday (May 24) said that Metro Manila may possibly be placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) in June.
With this, Metro Manila residents may expect more relaxed quarantine restrictions to be implemented next month.
Lorenzana said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has been discussing the readiness of the capital region for it to be transitioned to GCQ from the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).
“More likely mag-gi-GCQ na tayo by June 1,” the defense chief said.
He added that areas that still have novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases will remain under their control.
“Ang pinag-uusapan namin sa IATF, eh mag-GCQ, pero ‘yung mga areas na meron pa ring… mga infection baka ‘yun na lang ang ikontrol ng konti,” Lorenzana said.
The areas that will be placed under GCQ are those that are considered to be at low risk of COVID-19. With this, more industries will be allowed to operate.
Lorenzana insists that although recorded COVID-19 cases has been going down everyday, quarantine measures must remain to prevent the second wave of the infection.
“We would like to impress in our people ‘yung self-discipline, para masanay sila na ito na ‘yung new normal, na social distancing, wearing of face mask, sanitation,” the official said.
Task Force Against Covid-19 Chief Implementer Carlito Galvez, Jr. has earlier mentioned about the planned “zoning concept” or the measure that will limit the implementation of a lockdown in an area based on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. —(with details from Victor Cosare) /mbmf
The World Health Organization expressed concern on Wednesday (May 20) for the rising number of new coronavirus cases in poor countries, even as many rich nations emerge from lockdown.
The global health body said 106,000 new cases of infections of the novel coronavirus had been recorded in the past 24 hours, the most in a single day since the outbreak began, as the total number of cases world-wide approached five million.
Speaking at a news conference, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that two thirds of those cases had come from just four countries.
The WHO has come under fire from U.S. President Donald Trump, who accuses it of having mishandled the outbreak and favouring China. This week Trump threatened to withdraw from the WHO and permanently withhold funding.
Tedros acknowledged having received a letter from Trump, but declined to comment further.
In comments that could annoy Trump further, the head of the WHO’s emergency programme, Dr. Mike Ryan, told the press conference that people should avoid using the malaria medicine hydroxychloroquine, except for conditions it is proven to treat. Trump has said he is taking hydroxychloroquine to prevent coronavirus infection.
Tedros said he was committed to accountability. The WHO has announced a review into the response to the pandemic, which emerged in China late last year.
“WHO calls for accountability more than anyone. It has to be done and when it’s done it has to be a comprehensive one,” he said of the review, while declining to give a timeline for it starting. (Reuters)
Officials of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that it is hard to predict when the pandemic will be over, but the novel coronvirus may never go away.
“We have a new virus entering the human population for the first time, and therefore it is very hard to predict when we will prevail over it. This virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities and this virus may never go away,” Dr Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, said on Wednesday at a press conference in Geneva.
Ryan said he hopes to eliminate the virus with the help of a highly effective vaccine, which should be made available to everyone.
He said that there is a massive opportunity for the world to turn a tragic pandemic into a beacon of hope for the future, urging the world to work together to hold it in check through solidarity, trust, working together and through a multilateral system that can actually benefit mankind.
Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, COVID-19 technical lead at WHO, added that, despite people may be in a state of feeling quite some despair, people should remain upbeat and hopeful.
“We have seen countries bring this virus under control; we have seen countries use public health measures, the fundamentals of public health and epidemiology and clinical care, to bring the virus under control and to suppress transmission to a low enough level where communities can get back to work and communities can open up again, so we can’t forget that,” she said. (Reuters)
UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.