Local pharmacies and malls around the city are running out of 70% isopropyl alcohols and face masks due to increased demand triggered by the spreading Covid-19 virus.
Major local distributors said they have prioritized hospitals and have refrained from selling the items to the public because of limited supply.
“May dumating kami [face masks] 3 weeks ago pero enough lang para sa 3 hospitals namin binigay. Hindi na kakayanin na makapagbenta kasi ‘yong demands pa lang nila [hospitals] siyempre unahin natin ‘yong health care providers kasi sila ‘yong nasa frontline,” Nattie Sabando, proprietor of Rover Medical & Dental Supplies, told Palawan News.
She added that even their own suppliers could not assure deliveries.
“Hindi ko rin alam kung kalian may darating kasi ‘yong supply apektado rin talaga, kasi talagang may shortage,” Sabando added.
Sabando noted that there was a spike in local demand following a report early this week of a person who was placed “under investigation” for possible Covid-19 infection.
“Caught off guard kami kasi isang case lang ‘yon na hindi pa nga positive, ubos talaga [face mask] whatever stocks meron kami kasi isang tao would buy 10 boxes, hindi na namin napigilan kasi talagang pila na that time,” she said.
Pharmacies within the vicinity of the Ospital ng Palawan (ONP) have also ran out of stock of face masks and alcohol.
“One month na since naubusan kami ng supply ng face mask, noong nakaraan may ilang dumating, mga 200 boxes pero parang hinipan lang. Yong iba kasi bultuhan kung bumili,” a pharmacist at the Klarinette’s Pharmacy said,
“Yung alcohol, kagabi (March 10) lang din naubusan kasi daw, pagkarinig ng mga tao ng mga news, nagbilihan sila agad ng alcohol, parang nag-panic buying sila,” Kristine May Kagatin, a pharmacists at Drugman, added.
In the big malls around the city, limited stocks of alcohol in pocket-sizes were still available. One mall has limit their selling of their isopropyl alcohols to a maximum of 2 per person.
The local office of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said these products are within the jurisdiction of the Department of Health (DOH).
“Yong mga products [face mask and alcohol] na nabanggit niyo ay hindi jurisdiction ng DTI (Department of Trade and Industry), ito ay jurisdiction ng Department of Health (DOH). ‘Yong pagdating naman sa mga online re-sellers lalo na ‘yong mga individual re-sellers, hindi natin sila mga negosyante so ‘yong mga whereabouts nila hindi matumbok at wala silang mga kaukulang mga dokumento,” DTI information officer Persival Narbonita said. (with a report from Aira Genesa Magdayao)