UAE confirms first cases of Wuhan coronavirus, pharmacies running out of face masks

Face masks are selling fast and as pharmacists are waiting for new supplies, many pharmacies in the UAE are facing a shortage. 

With the first coronavirus cases in the UAE being confirmed yesterday as an infected Chinese family of four, as per the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP), Dubai and others are running out of protective face masks, especially the high-quality N-95 masks.

Exploiting the situation, online stores have started promoting the sale of masks at exorbitant prices. Consumers who could earlier purchase the specialised anti-viral filter mask N-95, at Dh150 to 180 for a box of 20 pieces, are now being forced to pay the same price for a single mask.  

Online stores are limiting the sale to only one box per order and not allowing customers to buy in bulk. The demand has grown exponentially since the outbreak of the coronavirus with residents buying face masks and sanitisers and hospitals stocking up on the same. 

This particular strain of the coronavirus, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has so far claimed many lives and infected thousands of people. 

The UAE has issued a travel warning for Emiratis travelling to mainland China and Kuwait has become one of the first Gulf countries to announce a travel ban to China on Wednesday.