Kenyan retailers making a kill as demand for masks and hand sanitizers rises

The demand for nose mask and hand sanitizer is on the rise in Nairobi, although no Kenyan has tested positive for the deadly virus.

Photo/Courtesy

In Brief

– The demand for nose mask and hand sanitizer is on the rise in Nairobi. 

– With the high cost of the masks, most Kenyans are unlikely to afford them and even those who can face rising prices with no cure in sight for the virus.

The demand for nose mask and hand sanitizer is on the rise in Nairobi. Although no Kenyan has tested positive, globally, more than 90,000 people in about 40 countries have been infected with the new virus, which emerged in December with Italy being the worst hit nation in Europe.

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“We have customers daily coming to purchase masks, some say they are travelling out of the country while others are just buying to store them in case of anything,” said George Omondi, a pharmaceutical technologist at Goodlife Pharmacy CBD Branch.

He said the store had the N95 masks which are accepted globally and cost Sh 17,900 for a pack of 10 up from Sh 14,000 due to the high demand.

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The normal surgical masks cost Sh3,000 for a pack of 50 at the store.

With the high cost of the masks, most Kenyans are unlikely to afford them and even those who can face rising prices with no cure in sight for the virus.

The masks are only effective for eight hours, forcing one to buy in bulk.

However, hand sanitizers still cost the normal price of Sh100 but have higher demand and are moving fast off the shelves.

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With this rise in demand, most retailers stocks on the two commodities are running out hence pushing up the costs.

“Surgical masks have not been in stock for the past month as we get them from China and the imports stopped coming in,” said Lydia, a pharmacist at Naivas.

Along the busy Accra road which is filled with pharmacies that sell at wholesale and retail, the case is the same.

This situation hits the country when there are claims that retailers are exporting back the available masks in the country.

The deadly virus which has killed over 90000 people globally has been declared a pandemic and the public is warned to avoid crowded places in order to contain the spread of the virus.