Face mask prices should stay steady after PH's first possible Chinese virus case: health dept

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 22 2020 09:56 AM

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The price of surgical masks should stay steady while the Philippines investigates its potential first case of the SARS-like virus that infected hundreds in China, the health department said Wednesday.

"Bawal pong manamantala 'pag po mayroong sakuna. [May] price freeze po tayo," Health Undersecretary and Spokesperson Eric Doming told DZMM.

(Disasters shouldn't be taken advantage of. We have a price freeze.)

The health department on Tuesday said it was monitoring a 5-year-old boy from Wuhan, China, who arrived in Cebu City last Jan. 13 and tested positive for "nonspecific pancoronavirus."

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), according to the World Health Organization.

A new strain of coronavirus, first detected in the central city of Wuhan, has claimed 6 lives and infected about 300, authorities said.

There is a "very, very low" probability that the virus could infect people with no history of travel to China, Domingo said in a separate ABS-CBN News interview.

However, flu cases usually spike in January and February so the public should wear face masks and wash their hands frequently to avoid getting sick, he said.

Some retailers ran out of face masks, the price of which jumped eight-fold in some stores in the capital after an eruption of Taal Volcano on Jan. 12. With a report from Agence France-Presse

DZMM, Jan. 22, 2020