Several online shops have raised the prices of protection items, such as face masks and hand sanitizer, to unreasonably high rates in order to cash in on people’s higher awareness in the wake of recent locally-transmitted COVID-19 cases in Ho Chi Minh City.
According to some medical equipment stores in the city, demand for face masks and hand sanitizer slightly surged on Tuesday following the announcement of a domestic COVID-19 case in Vietnam, also known as patient 1,347, on Monday afternoon.
However, the surge was short-lived as these stores just temporarily ran out of stock, with new supplies to be delivered a few days afterward.
In the meanwhile, several shops operating on social media platforms have taken advantage of the situation to overcharge buyers of face masks and hand sanitizer.
These shops have advertised that such items are in really high demand and sold a package of 50 small boxes of face masks for VND2-3.5 million (US$87-152), nearly double the rate a couple of days before.
But these advertisements were refuted by trusted sources in the industry.
Nguyen Thi Ngoc Thuong, purchasing director of the Bach Hoa Xanh grocery store chain, confirmed to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Wednesday that face masks are abundant and their prices also remain stable.
“Our suppliers said that they have an ample stock that can meet all market demands,” Thuong said.
Likewise, supermarket chains such as Saigon Co.op, Big C, and VinMart also affirmed their stable supply of face masks and hand sanitizer.
A representative of Tam Nhin Moi Company in Ho Chi Minh City said that the majority of its weekly production output of three to five million face masks is shipped abroad as domestic demand is not high.
Ecom Med Medical JSC in the same city has even offered a discount on some face mask products.