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EXCLUSIVE: There’s no masking it – coronavirus panic is here

29 January 2020

3:11 PM

29 January 2020

3:11 PM

There’s no hiding from the truth. Australia is being hit by a fully-fledged panic over the coronavirus — and those in the healthcare frontline are among the most affected.

Medical-grade masks are becoming impossible to find. When they are available, there are restrictions on the number of boxes available for purchase. Medical practitioners are also complaining of marks-ups, with the prices for remaining stock, some claim, pushed sky high.

Medical supply company Livingstone International makes the situation crystal clear with the “buy face masks … now while stock last, limit five boxes/day” red bar at the top of its website landing page:

The “top seller” badge on their product list also speaks for itself.

The Spectator Australia understands that not just the obvious frontline services are affected by the panic buying. Dentistry, with its strict procedures to prevent the spread of blood-borne diseases, has also become a casualty.

Sources say some of the major suppliers to the profession are already out of stock, posing a potential risk to dentists’ ability to see patients.

With many medical suppliers’ websites only available to registered customs, it is difficult to gain the full picture. However, the site of busy Sydney-based Critical Dental tells a stark story.

The Spectator Australia understands another major supplier that does not provide an online catalogue sold some 3000 boxes of masks over the weekend, despite the public holiday. They are said to be limiting supply to six boxes per order, each containing 50 masks.

Medical professionals searching overseas to source masks are finding similar stories and shortages.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been mercilessly mocked on social media this afternoon for his announcement that Australian travellers, elderly people and children will be evacuated from the coronavirus-stricken city of Wuhan and sent to Christmas Island for quarantine.

It is a serious step, indicative of a serious situation.

The run on medical masks indicates that despite the official messaging, ordinary Australians are also leaving nothing to chance.

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