The detection of coronavirus in Bangladesh has triggered a panic buying of face masks, toilet paper and hand sanitiser across the country, including the capital, pushing up their prices.
Traders said people are stockpiling the items across the country out of panic after three people were detected with coronavirus for the first time in the country on Sunday.
Visiting several markets in the capital, it was seen that masks were selling at an exorbitant price.
Traders said the price of masks increased by more than 200 percent following their huge demand.
The price of a mask shot up to Tk 100 on Monday morning, which was Tk 30 on Sunday night.
Traders also said the price will see further hike if there is no adequate supply.
Abdul Halim, a wholesaler at Bangabazar, told UNB that they were selling huge masks for the last several days. “But the sale went up immensely from Sunday night following the detection of coronavirus in Bangladesh.”
Now, they cannot provide the products as per the demand, he said.
“We’re now selling a leather mask at Tk 1,200 which was Tk 300 on Sunday as we were forced to buy those at a higher price. Factory owners hiked the price citing a supply crunch. So, we’re also selling it at a high price,” he added.
Halim also said they were selling medium quality mask at Tk 100 on Monday which was Tk 30 on Sunday.
Akter Hossain, a retailer at Malibagh, said they were selling a normal mask for Tk 60 against Tk 10 one day ago.
“The price has spiraled due to the huge demand. I had to buy masks from wholesale market at a higher price and that’s why I’m selling those at a higher price,” he added.
Nazrul Hasan, a pharmacy owner at Najirabazar, said they sold huge toilet paper, hand sanitiser and masks since Sunday night. “We sold the items making a small profit. We’re selling sanitiser for Tk 80-Tk 200,” he added.
Talking to UNB, Saiful Islam, a student of Jagannath University, said he bought a mask for Tk 150 from Old Dhaka which was earlier sold at Tk 30-40 only.
“We’re in panic following the spread of deadly coronavirus in Bangladesh. I bought the mask to protect me from the virus contagion,” he said.
Many people were also purchasing masks from online marketplaces.
Observing several online shopping places, including Daraz and Evaly.com.bd, it was seen that masks were selling at Tk 200-3,000 per piece on Monday.
“In our platform, sellers are free to set their own prices. Following the spread of coronavirus, we encourage all to limit the prices of medical equipment as low as possible,” Mohammad Rassel, managing director and CEO of Evaly.com.bd Limited, told UNB.
“Now, we’re getting a good response as medical equipment are running out of stock at medical stores. So, our sellers are reporting a good number of orders,” he added.
The Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) on Sunday announced that three coronavirus infected patients were detected in Bangladesh.
Of them, two men and one woman, and all of them have been kept in quarantine.
However, no new case was reported in the last 24 hours till Monday morning.
The coronavirus has so far affected 109 countries and territories around the world, including Bangladesh, and one international conveyance (the Diamond Princess cruise ship harbored in Yokohama, Japan).