Issue of February 9, 2020
     
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DTI monitors supply of surgical masks in CAR
by PNA with reports from Corwin Lucas Golonan

The Department of Trade and Industry has noted a shortage of masks in the Cordillera.

DTI Regional Consumer Protection Officer-in-Charge Jerry Agpes said based on their monitoring, it appeared that there is shortage of masks in the region.

The DTI has been monitoring the supply of surgical and N-95 masks amid the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) scare.

Agpes said pharmacies informed them that the stocks which were supposed to be delivered to them two weeks ago and last week did not arrive.

“The pharmacies are expecting deliveries from last week (and this week), but the supplies did not arrive,” Agpes said.

He said they already brought the concern to the DTI central office, which is now coordinating with local and international suppliers of masks.

“They are presently talking to suppliers to address the shortage,” Agpes said.

He said there is only one manufacturer of surgical masks in the country. The other suppliers are from overseas.

He said the DTI has been monitoring the availability of stocks in the market since the eruption of the Taal volcano in January.

“We have been monitoring since the Taal eruption and (there was already) a lack of supply that time. With the coronavirus scare, the supply has already diminished,” Agpes said.

He said they are looking at possible hoarding of supplies as one of the reasons of the shortage.

Demand for surgical and the N95 masks surged worldwide due to the nCoV scare.


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