E-merchants see 500pc spike in face mask orders from Malaysians in coronavirus outbreak

Tan Mei Zi
A sales assistant arranges boxes of face masks at a Pharmhouse Pharmacy outlet in Setia Alam on January 28, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

PETALING JAYA, Jan 29 — As pharmacies run low on supplies, Malaysians have resorted to online shopping in search of protective gear and hygiene products to fend off the coronavirus (2019-nC0V).

In a press statement, e-commerce platform Shopee revealed that orders for surgical face masks, hand sanitisers, disinfectants, antibacterial washes, and vitamins have soared by up to 521 per cent.

“Many of these healthcare and hygiene products are out-of-stock at most places, causing Malaysians to turn online to get them,” said Shopee’s regional managing director Ian Ho.

Ho added that Shopee has reached out to brands and sellers across Malaysia with existing stock to help meet the rising demand for such products.

The platform is also putting in extra effort to ensure merchants adhere to the government’s imposition of a ceiling price on face masks in light of the flu outbreak.

“We have also taken the proactive measure to remind all our sellers that the government has imposed a maximum ceiling price for face masks and to price these items reasonably seeing as it is a basic necessity for all.”

China’s National Health Commission said the novel coronavirus, believed to have originated from Wuhan in Hubei province, has infected 5,974 worldwide so far and killed 132.

The number of confirmed coronavirus patients in Malaysia rose to seven after three more positive cases were confirmed this morning.

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