Rush to purchase surgical masks in T&T

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Rush to purchase surgical masks in T&T

(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) – Phar­ma­cies around the coun­try are re­port­ing an in­crease in sales of sur­gi­cal masks, as lo­cals take mea­sures to safe­guard against the coro­n­avirus.

Since the world be­gan tak­ing a clos­er look at the de­vel­op­ment of the nov­el coro­n­avirus (2019-nCoV) in Chi­na, Trin­bag­o­ni­ans some 15,390 km away from the virus’ epi­cen­tre have be­gun to pur­chase sur­gi­cal masks in an­tic­i­pa­tion of it reach­ing our shores.

On­ly on Wednes­day dur­ing a Pub­lic Ad­min­is­tra­tion and Ap­pro­pri­a­tion Com­mit­tee at Ca­bil­do Cham­bers, Port-of-Spain the Min­istry of Health’s Chief Med­ical Of­fi­cer (CMO) Dr Roshan Paras­ram in­di­cat­ed that there was no need for cit­i­zens to pur­chase these masks.

“We don’t rec­om­mend to the pop­u­la­tion at this time to be wear­ing any masks be­cause we have no sus­pect­ed or con­firmed cas­es,” Dr Paras­ram in­di­cat­ed.

How­ev­er, Guardian Me­dia con­tact­ed sev­er­al phar­ma­cies across the coun­try. They all in­di­cat­ed they have ex­pe­ri­enced an in­crease in sur­gi­cal mask sales since the virus gar­nered glob­al dis­course.

One Cha­gau­nas phar­ma­cy al­so in­di­cat­ed that it was out of the sur­gi­cal masks and has re­sort­ed to sell­ing dust masks.

An­oth­er phar­ma­cy in South Trinidad in­di­cat­ed it need­ed to in­crease its stock quan­ti­ties for the mask due to re­cent de­mand.

“There is an in­crease. Def­i­nite­ly, an in­crease in the pur­chas­ing of those items,” Pres­i­dent of the Phar­ma­cy Board An­drew Ra­haman told Guardian Me­dia in a brief tele­phone in­ter­view yes­ter­day.

He al­so not­ed the ab­sence of cit­i­zens wear­ing the masks in pub­lic, which he be­lieves in­di­cates that “peo­ple (are) buy­ing it as a pre­cau­tion.”

In his state­ment be­fore the Pub­lic Ad­min­is­tra­tion and Ap­pro­pri­a­tion Com­mit­tee, Dr Paras­ram in­di­cat­ed that while the sur­gi­cal masks would help in less­en­ing the chances of con­tract­ing the virus, it’s not the best.

“What is rec­om­mend­ed is the N95 be­cause it fil­ters out 95 per cent of the par­tic­u­late mat­ter that’s why they call it N95”

“That’s rec­om­mend­ed but it’s rec­om­mend­ed for front­line work­ers- for some­one that would ex­pect to be in con­tact with an ex­posed in­di­vid­ual,” he con­tin­ued.

Lo­cal health of­fi­cials have pre­vi­ous­ly said the chance of the virus reach T&T’s shores are very low, with the Caribbean Pub­lic Health Agency (CARPHA) it­er­at­ing in their most re­cent sit­u­a­tion re­port on the virus (Feb­ru­ary 6) that “the risk of im­por­ta­tion of 2019-nov­el coro­n­avirus (2019-nCoV) to the Re­gion con­tin­ues to be deemed low.”

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