Medical suppliers in the UAE are running out of surgical face masks due to increased demand from fears over the deadly coronavirus with some suppliers indicating that they are “totally out of stock.”
The virus, known also as corona, was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan and has killed more than 130 people and infected more than 6,000 people globally, most of them in China. Symptoms include coughing, fever, and breathing problems.
Face mask suppliers told Al Arabiya English that they had run out of masks due to increased demand stemming from the coronavirus. One supplier said it was “totally out of stock,” while another said it was receiving many more requests than usual.
Businesses and individuals have been stocking up on face masks as fears of the epidemic spreading continue to rise. The UAE health ministry reported its first case of coronavirus on Wednesday morning.
Surgical facemasks can provide some basic defense against some viruses, and can be useful in slowing the spread of an epidemic.
The health ministry and government media office did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
As cases are recorded in an increasing number of countries around the world, other states have begun screening processes in airports for flights coming in from China. Here is a timeline of the spread.
In the Middle East, Jordan has also reported a case of coronavirus.