Oman closes pharmacy for hiking prices of face masks amid coronavirus fears

Oman closes pharmacy for hiking prices of face masks amid coronavirus fears
Omani authorities are clamping down on businesses who are taking advantage of public fears over coronavirus.
2 min read
27 February, 2020
Omani authorities have closed a pharmacy in Muscat [Public Authority for Consumer Protection]
Omani authorities shuttered a pharmacy in the capital Muscat on Thursday after it was found to have hiked prices for face masks amid public panic over the highly contagious coronavirus.

The consumer rights body warned businesses in the sultanate against exploiting public fears over the coronavirus, after this week five people were found to have the disease.

"We have closed a pharmacy in Muscat for raising the prices of face masks, and exploiting the current situation," the Public Authority for Consumer Protection tweeted.

"[We] will not tolerate such activities and will take action against them. We will also be conducting regular inspections in the market throughout the day."

An image shared by the authority on social media showed its workers sealing off the pharmacy in Muscat accused of inflating prices of face masks, amid high demand for the medical item and widespread shortages.

The health and consumer authorities have warned businesses against taking advantage of the public panic by raising prices on face masks.

Oman reported its first cases of coronavirus on Monday after two women tested positive for the disease after returning from Iran.

Another two cases were discovered on Tuesday and one more on Thursday. The patients are being kept in quarantine amid fears that more cases will be discovered in the coming days and weeks.

Face masks and hand sanitizer have sold out in many stores in the country, with ministry of health officials holding an emergency meeting on Wednesday over the shortages.

Businesses were told only to sell face masks locally and banned from exporting the items abroad, while the public have also been warned against hoarding.

Oman - along with a number of countries in the region - has grounded flights to Iran due to the high number of cases in the country.

At least 139 people in Iran have contracted the disease and 19 people have died from coronavirus, which is believed to have originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to stay connected