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Coronavirus Pandemic

Coronavirus: Face mask demand normal now, stocks replenished in UAE

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Dubai/Abu Dhabi Filed on February 14, 2020 | Last updated on February 14, 2020 at 10.27 am
face mask, demand, normal, stocks


There is still a shortage of N95 masks as people prefer those from the others.

As the panic about the novel coronavirus, Covid 19, is dying down among the UAE residents, the demand for protective face gear has become normal, according to pharmaceutical retail outlets.

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Following reports of the first confirmed case of coronavirus in the UAE, outlets faced a huge shortage of protective face masks, especially the N95 masks. Now, lesser people are seen wearing the masks even as pharma retail outlets said they have replenished the dwindling stocks.

However, some retailers said the N95 masks are still short in supply, but regular face masks are in plenty.

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Roshan Abdul Hameed, the retail head of Burjeel Pharmacy, VPS Healthcare's Retail Pharmacy Network, said: "There had been a tremendous spike in the demand for face masks in the initial days owing to the panic and fear spread among the people.

But now, things are getting back to normal. Thanks to the effective communications mechanism of the Ministry of Health and Prevention (Mohap)."

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He added: "The media also played a crucial role in educating people rather than inciting fear. As a result, the demand for masks has become normal." Hameed said the company also saw a huge spike in the demand for hand sanitisers. "People are buying hand sanitisers as a safety measure. The demand for hand sanitisers is still there," he added.

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Wael Aziz, chief pharmacist at Emirates Hospital Jumeirah, said: "There is still a shortage of N95 masks as people prefer those from the others but normal masks are available and being replenished."

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Aziz said: "According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), hand sanitisers can decrease up to 70 per cent of the infection spreading, if used in the correct way.

They are very effective.

"There has been a huge increase in the hand sanitisers sales. People are more aware of hygiene and keeping germs at bay."

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The pharma experts explained that hand sanitisers are especially helpful for children. "It will help them keep their hands clean and disinfected, mainly school going kids," said Hameed.

"Hand washing is crucial. Unclean hands are a major cause of diseases. We should be always keeping our hands clean, particularly before we eat something."

However, the precautionary measures are to use face masks in crowded places and disinfect all high services above the ground level, said an expert.

Dr Yanal Salam, specialist internal medicine, Emirates Hospital Jumeirah, said:

"We're exposed to millions of germs and bacteria every day, and hand wash is an effective way to reduce our risk of getting sick or passing germs and bacteria onto others. It is important to maintain hand hygiene - which includes washing hands with soap or water for at least 20 seconds, particularly before and after eating food and going to the washroom."

Hand hygiene for kids

Dr Sripradha Sudarsanam, specialist paediatrician at Emirates Hospital Jumeirah, said: "Children should wash hands for least 20-30 seconds using a hand sanitiser, which has long been considered one of the most effective ways to prevent illness."

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She added: "However, it is important to follow certain steps while washing hands. If this is not adhered to, the germs can yet prevail, as most children don't cover the entire surface while sanitising their hands. While it is not easy to get kids to follow this as a regime, it is imperative that parents teach children to avoid direct contact with dirty hands on their face to prevent the spread of diseases. And it is better to teach children to wash their hands instead of sanitising." 


Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person, and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics, and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling, and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88

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