Palace warns vs hoarding of face masks; asks makers to produce more
MANILA, Philippines — Malacanang on Friday warned hoarders of face masks against taking advantage of the emergency situation, thereby creating an artificial scarcity, as they may be apprehended by police if they continue their illicit activity.
People started wearing face masks in public as health officials confirmed Thursday the first case of novel coronavirus in the Philippines — a 38-year-old female tourist from China. However, some drugstores claimed to have ran out of face mask supply, raising concerns about the possibility of hoarding.
“They should be raided by the PNP if they are hoarding. That’s unlawful,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo told reporters.
The Palace official also appealed to face mask manufacturers to produce more in the face of the increasing demand.
“If there is undersupply of masks then we would request the manufacturers to produce more. In fact, they should not be requested to do that; as businessmen, they should,” he said.
World Health Organization country representative, Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe earlier stressed that only people with signs and symptoms of respiratory infection are advised to wear masks and gloves.
To date, China has reported 9,692 confirmed cases of the new virus with a death toll of 213. Eighteen other countries have since reported cases, as scientists race to understand how exactly the virus is spreading and how severe it is.
As of Friday, the Department of Health said there are 31 patients under investigation (PUIs) or those who traveled to Wuhan, China, and showed symptoms of the new coronavirus strain.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.