Acute mask shortage at pharma stores | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Acute mask shortage at pharma stores

TDT/Manama  

Face masks were out of stock at many pharma stores across the Kingdom as people began buying them in large numbers over coronavirus fear. 

The shortage is attributed to declining supply and increasing demand in the Kingdom. 

This comes in light of the Kingdom's Health Ministry confirming its first case of coronavirus infection. 

Earlier, speaking to Tribune, a pharma store manager, who doesn't want to be named, had said: "We have a huge shortage of face masks as we sold out our stocks in the last two days. 

"Though no cases are reported in the Kingdom, people here are taking special caution and a good number of them are wearing face masks, which is one of the ways to prevent being infected."

He said masks were being imported from China and the supplies have declined owing to huge demand in that country. 

"If you see, the Chinese authorities have asked everyone at risk to wear face masks. The demand is vast as China is the largest populated country in the world," he added. 

However, on the contrary, there were also many reports on media, which states there are not enough evidences to suggest that wearing a face mask has any benefit for the general public.  

Health experts have said that the choice of mask could make a big difference to its effectiveness.

Of the two main types of face masks on the market -- N95 respirators that fit tight to the face and include a filtration system, and the surgical face masks typically worn by hospital workers -- it is the latter that offers the best defence against the virus, a health expert said.

"Respirators are designed to protect the user, because they want to keep the contaminants out,” he added. 

“Surgical masks, actually in the healthcare environment are meant to protect the patients."

The World Health Organisation has warned that the huge surge in demand for face masks and other protective clothing could lead to a shortage for those who need them most: doctors and nurses treating coronavirus patients.

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