Sale of face masks, meds spike

Stocking up: Pharmacy staff Nurul Nazihah arranging face mask boxes at the pharmacy here in Johor Baru as demand increases following a spike of Covid-19 cases in Singapore.

JOHOR BARU: With Covid-19 cases reported to be soaring over the last couple of weeks in neighbouring Singapore, the demand for face masks at pharmacies here has also shot up.

Pharmacy staffer Nurul Nazihah Rosli, 30, said sales for face mask have seen a spike, which started early this month, but added that stocks were still available.

“There is a 50% increase in people buying face masks, (as well as) medicines for flu, cough and fever, especially for small children.

“Three- and four-layer face masks are the preference, and people usually buy them in boxes as it is cheaper than buying them in smaller quantities,” she said.

A pharmacist, who only wanted to be known as Tan, also said demand for face masks was higher at the pharmacy where he is employed.

“Besides face masks and medicine, people are also buying Covid-19 test kits and supplements such as vitamins.

“I think people are now more aware about Covid-19. The demand is likely due to measures they are taking to safeguard themselves against the virus,” he added.

On Saturday, Singapore Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said the number of people hospitalised for Covid-19 increased to about 280 over the past week.

The number of Covid-19 hospitalisation cases in the island republic has been increasing in recent weeks, with around 250 such cases for the week of May 5 to May 11, up from 181 the week before.

This comes amid a wave of Covid-19 infections, driven by the KP.1 and KP.2 subvariants, which account for more than two-thirds of Covid-19 cases there.

Singapore’s Health Ministry, however, has noted there is currently no indication, either globally or locally, that KP.1 and KP.2 are more transmissible or cause more severe symptoms than earlier variants.

The ministry said on May 18 that the estimated number of Covid-19 cases for the week of May 5 to May 11 was 25,900 cases, almost double the 13,700 cases in the previous week.

Ong said then that the current wave was expected to peak by the end of June.

On May 23, Johor health and environment committee chairman Ling Tian Soon said cross-border travel for Malaysians working in Singapore will not be affected by the recent wave of Covid-19 infections in the island republic for now.

However, he advised those with comorbidities or from high-risks groups to mask up when outdoors or in public places.

“Although a fresh Covid-19 wave has hit Singapore, we are keeping to the same standard operating procedure (SOP) for now.

“I advise the public, especially senior citizens, children and those with pre-existing illnesses, to wear a face mask when going to crowded or public areas,” he said.

Ling said the situation in the state was still manageable, with 154 Covid-19 cases reported in epidemiological week 20 (May 12-18).

This was a slight increase from 138 cases recorded in the previous week and 95 cases in week 18.

Asked whether a new SOP would be introduced for cross-border travellers, especially with thousands of Malaysians commuting to and from the city-state for work daily, Ling said he would discuss the matter with the Health Ministry.

“If need be, the ministry will issue a new SOP. For now, the existing SOP remains for all, including cross-border travellers, to mask up if you are in the high-risk groups and continue maintaining good personal hygiene.

“Those experiencing symptoms such as flu and cough should seek medical attention immediately and wear a face mask to prevent infecting others,” he added.

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Face Masks , Covid-19 , Pharmacies , Singapore , Border


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