Barely a day after the Federal Government confirmed the first case of Coronavirus in the country, owners of pharmaceutical stores and supermarkets are beginning to exploit the situation, as they increase the prices of face masks, infrared thermometer and hand sanitizers between 150% and 300%.
Already, some of them have ran out of stock of the personal items as the demand for the products have been unprecedented. A Pharmacist, Tope Oresegun, told Nairametrics that the cost of face masks (a box of 50 masks) in the open market has rose from N700 to N3,500 now.
He said, “As we speak, you can hardly get the stock from major stores. There is an unconfirmed report that some of the hand sanitisers being hawked around are fake.”
Manager, Health Havens Pharmacy, Magboro, Ogun State, who prefer anonymity, explained that his pharmacy has also ran out of stock due to increasing demand as residents of Magboro know that the victim went to Ogun State before he was transferred to Lagos.
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He said, “I have also observed that in many stores, the prices have gone up because it is scarce now. The cost of a single infrared thermometer imported from Europe that were sold for N10,000 per unit before now has rose to N25,000 per unit now and it is amazing to know shop owners can take advantage of the situation to make more money.”
Meanwhile, Ogun State government had stated that no fewer than 28 persons that had contact with a 44-year-old Italian, who brought the deadly coronavirus to Nigeria have been identified and quarantined by the government.
The government also said the firm visited by the victim in Ewekoro, Lafarge Cement Factory, had been closed.
Governor Dapo Abiodun disclosed these while addressing newsmen on Friday on the latest development regarding the Coronavirus outbreak in the state.
Abiodun assured residents that efforts were still being made to identify more contacts to checkmate the spread of the deadly disease.
The governor said, “The particular company in question has been practically shut down and they have set up two isolation centres within the premises.
“They have identified all those that have been in contact with this index, totalling about 28. All those 28 people have been quarantined.”
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Tomi Coker, said the unidentified Italian victim fell ill in a cement company in Ewekoro, where he visited for a business after his arrival from Milan, Italy.
The health commissioner, who explained how the Italian victim arrived in the state, said, “In the last 12 hours, the first case of the chronic virus has been identified in Nigeria and the individual was visiting Ogun State.
“The individual is of Italian origin and he is a consultant to the Lafarge, Ewekoro factory.”