Coronavirus in India: Health Minister says those overcharging for COVID-19 N95 masks will be punished

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Coronavirus in India: As coronavirus strikes fear among Indians and the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in India rises to 28, fear for the COVID-19 virus has seen people thronging medical stores to stock up on hand sanitizers and N95 masks. This has seen a drastic drop in the stocks of masks and sanitizers at chemist stores with some running out of them, while some others reportedly overcharging desperate citizens a premium over the maximum retail price (MRP) listed on the packets. Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Wednesday took cognizance of reports claiming that there has been a drastic increase in the price of N95 masks, and warned such medical store owners and individuals against such a practice.

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Dr Harsh Vardhan was quoted by ANI as saying that if people are taking advantage of such a dire situation and overcharging for them then they will be labelled as ‘black sheep’. If such practices didn’t stop immediately then a mechanism would be put in place to identify such individuals and punish them.

Talking about the coronavirus outbreak, the Health Minister said that in all 28 cases have been confirmed so far in India. Out of these, 16 are Italian tourists, who, along with their Indian driver who has also tested positive for COVID-19 virus, have been quarantined at an Army Facility in Manesar. One person in Delhi, and his 6 relatives in Agra have been confirmed positive as well. One software engineer from Hyderabad, who returned from Dubai via Bengaluru, has also tested positive for coronavirus and is being treated at Gandhi hospital in Telangana’s capital city. Three earlier cases from Kerala have all recovered.

The Union Health Minister also said that 5,89,000 people have been screened at airports so far, and over 10 lakh have been screened at the Nepal border. Of these 27,000 have been kept under community surveillance, he added.