Dubai authorities warn of face mask price gougers amid coronavirus epidemic

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Dubai Economy has officially instructed pharmacies and retail outlets to not increase their prices for face masks as fears over the spread of the coronavirus dramatically increase demand.

Medical suppliers in the UAE told Al Arabiya English on Wednesday that they are running out of surgical face masks due to increased demand with some suppliers indicating that they are totally out of stock.

The virus, also known as corona, was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan and has killed more than 170 people and infected more than 7,000 people globally, most of them in China.

Consumers have been instructed by Dubai Economy to a file a complaint if they find that the price for masks has been increased.

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.

Surgical facemasks can provide some basic defense against some viruses, and can be useful in slowing the spread of an epidemic.

“If you’re breathing through the mask and wearing it the way you’re supposed to, the droplet spread that most respiratory viruses, such as coronavirus, are spread through are not going to make it through that mask,” said Dr. Rebecca Fischer of Texas A&M School of Public Health's Epidemiology and Biostatistics department.

“It requires it to be fit tested and used appropriately. There’s certainly no need for us to be using these masks if we are not in a situation where the virus is present,” she added.

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.

The symptoms of the virus range from nothing to a cough and virus – to eventually death. Al Arabiya English put together a video and instructions on how to protect yourself from the virus.

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