KOCHI: With the Coronavirus scare causing panic, the state is witnessing a spurt in demand for face masks. As medical shops run out of stocks the price of masks is shooting through the roof. The price of 3 ply non-woven face mask, which was sold at Rs 2 per piece a month ago, has increased 10 fold to touch Rs 20 per piece.
Meanwhile, a distributor of surgical equipment in the city is distributing face masks to high-risk groups at the original rate of Rs 2, winning appreciation.
Taslim PK, the proprietor of Cochin Surgicals in Kochi, said he has distributed around 4,500 face masks to people belonging to the high-risk group, including hospital staff, KSEB employees and High Court staff.
“We used to distribute the mask at the rate of Rs 2 per piece till last month. However, now the price has shot up and I purchased the latest consignment for Rs 8 per piece recently. Considering the health risk posed by the outbreak, I am distributing the mask to high-risk groups at the original rate,” he said.
According to him, the reason for the shortage of face masks is the demand in export market. As the Union government has banned the export of N95 category masks, the prices have crashed. The mask, which was sold at Rs 250 per piece is now available for Rs 150.