With the sudden surge in demand for face masks following the first confirmed 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCov) in the country, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez said the supply shortage is temporary.

“Shortage is due to the sudden jump in demand that even their reordered stocks got wiped out immediately,” Lopez said.

“DTI has advised suppliers to order masks in much bigger quantities.”

The trade chief stressed his department has advised suppliers to order masks “in much bigger quantities.”

“It should be temporary because the supply of a manufactured product can easily be increased, unlike if it were an agricultural product,” the trade head added.

Demand for surgical and N95 masks have increased since the Taal Volcano eruption.

Demand further jacked up after the Department of Health confirmed the first 2019-nCov infection in the country.

Some drugstores and medical supply stores have run out of stocks of surgical masks.\

“They are monitoring if prices are jacked up.”

The suggested retail price (SRP) for surgical masks ranges from P1 to P8 per piece.

“They (DTI personnel) are monitoring if prices are jacked up. We have intensified monitoring.” he said. 

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