Maharashtra's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has imposed a ban on the sale of N95 respirators without valid prescriptions. The move comes after the state government received complaints about panicky people buying and hoarding N95 masks. These masks are in heavy demand in India since the novel coronavirus cases started emerging in the country.
Maharashtra, however, is not the only state to crack down on the sale and hoarding of the protective equipment. Agra's district magistrate also sealed three medical shops to put a full stop on the black marketing of N95 masks.
According to an India Today report, the prices of masks and respirators skyrocketed in Noida when two schools were closed down as a student's parent tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The central government has also made it amply clear that those who hoard masks and sanitisers will face strict action.
While the central government has warned medical shop owners against the hoarding and black marketing of protective equipment, the World Health Organisation has asked people to use masks rationally in its Q&A page on the deadly coronavirus.
मास्क की कालाबाजारी करने वालों के खिलाफ़ सख़्त कार्रवाई हो!— Dr Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan) March 6, 2020
न्यूज़ एजेंसी @ANI से बात करते हुए मैंने कहा कि बाज़ार में जो लोग मास्क के नाम पर जनता को प्रताड़ित कर रहे हैं और दाम बढ़ाकर बेच रहे हैं उनके खिलाफ़ सख़्त से सख़्त कार्रवाई होनी चाहिए।@MoHFW_INDIA@PMOIndia#COVID19pic.twitter.com/pUIGg0WOlG
The WHO makes it crystal clear that healthy people don't need masks unless they are tending to ill people. The UN body also says the mask needs to be used by those who suffer from respiratory symptoms such as coughing or sneezing or have a suspected COVID-19 infection with mild symptoms.
Till March 6, around 83, 516 passengers have been screened at the the Mumbai International Airport for COVID-19. The Civil Aviation Ministry has issues directives to all the airports to take screenings for the novel coronavirus very seriously and allow all passengers to proceed towards the immigration counter only after the required clearance is granted.