Mask shortage should be temporary: DTI

With the sudden surge in demand for face masks following the first confirmed 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCov) in the country, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez said the supply shortage shall be temporary.

"Shortage is due to the sudden jump in demand that even their reordered stocks got wiped out immediately," Lopez told trade reporters in a text message Friday.

He said his department has advised suppliers to order masks "in much bigger quantities."

"It should be temporary because the supply of a manufactured product can easily be increased, unlike if it were an agricultural product," Lopez added.

Demand for surgical and N95 masks increased since the Taal Volcano eruption. Demand further jacked up after the Department of Health confirmed the first 2019-nCov here Thursday.

Some drugstores and medical supply stores have run out of stocks of surgical masks.

The suggested retail price (SRP) for surgical masks ranges from PHP1 to PHP8 per piece.

"They (DTI personnel) are monitoring if prices are jacked up. We have intensified monitoring. Lopez said.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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