Sanitiser and masks in demand

Big sellers . . . Pharmacist Alana Close, of Antidote Meridian, holds the store's big sellers, a mask and hand sanitiser. PHOTO: GILLIAN VINE

It is not only face masks that are in hot demand in Dunedin as a result of the coronavirus Covid-19.

“We’re having a run on hand sanitiser,” Antidote Meridian pharmacist Alana Close said.

“We’re selling, like, 10 times more than usual.”

Chin Loh, co-owner of the seven-store chain, said demand had slowed down a little and suppliers were drip-feeding masks and hand sanitiser to shops.

Like most Dunedin pharmacies, they sold out during the period of peak demand.

“When the rush was on, Chinese here were buying masks to send back home,” he said.

That was, he felt, rather ironic as the masks were “most probably” of Chinese origin.

Overall, they had sold “many thousands” of masks and could have sold more had stocks been available.

Mr Loh, himself a pharmacist, said wearing a mask reduced the risk of spreading infection if someone was unwell but good hygiene was important to avoid getting sick.

“Hand-to-mouth motion is how bugs are most commonly transmitted,” he said.

He had missed out on a family reunion in his home village in southern China over Chinese New Year, as the town, which he had never visited, was 400km from Wuhan.

“We got a message saying ‘don’t come’,” he said.