Face mask prices skyrocket in Indonesia as fears over coronavirus mount
UNTV News • February 13, 2020 • 771
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)
Malacañang is not convinced that the Philippines has surpassed Indonesia in the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
During a press briefing on Friday (August 7), Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Philippines is conducting more COVID-19 tests which resulted in more confirmed cases.
“Ibig sabihin po dahil mas maigiting ang ating pagte-test hindi totoo na mas marami tayo kaso kaysa sa Indonesia. Hindi lamang nalalaman ng mga Indonesian kung sino-sino ang mga umiikot na mayroong sakit at least tayo alam kung sino po sila (It means we are conducting more tests. It is not true that we have more cases than Indonesia. The Indonesians don’t know who are sick at least, on our case, we know),” he said.
The Department of Health (DOH) has previously explained that the COVID-19 situation in the Philippines cannot be compared to other countries because of the population difference and health care system.
Meanwhile, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said no country can say they have been successful in their fight against COVID-19.
“No country could ever say they are successful. Look at Japan, look at Italy, even Vietnam, and Singapore,” he said. “We focus on what we are doing is appropriate, proper, and practical rather than everyday compare yourself.” -AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)
Indonesia surpassed 100,000 cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday (July 27), reporting 1,525 new infections to take the total number to 100,303, data from the country’s Health Ministry website showed.
In Jakarta, people are worried with no clarity over the data provided by the government. “We really need the clarity from the government on the exact data of Covid-19, including the red zone area which can help us to be aware of ourselves to not go there.” Cia Teresia said, a 22-year old university student. In one of the busiest bus stations, bus workers are seen giving awareness for passengers by wearing protective suits and holding a placard with number of coronavirus cases in Jakarta.
The tally came one week after President Joko Widodo formed two new COVID-19 committees for the virus handling and the recovery of its economy.
The number of deaths in the Southeast Asian nation related to COVID-19 also increased by 57, to bring the total to 4,838, the data showed. (Reuters)
MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 has expanded the services allowed in salons and barbershops in areas under the general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).
Aside from haircut services, hair treatments are now allowed in salons under the GCQ areas; while nail care, basic facial care services, and basic personal care services will be allowed in areas under MGCQ.
Nevertheless, minimum public health standards will be strictly implemented in both GCQ and MGCQ areas, such as strict protocol on hand sanitation, face mask and face shields, gloves, and sterilized equipment.
The operating capacity in salons and barbershops will also be expanded to 50 percent in GCQ areas and 75 percent in MGCQ areas starting July 16, 2020. —(with details from Rosalie Coz) /mbmf
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