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By Amanda Watson

News Editor


Keep calm about virus and don’t do panic shopping – expert

According to the World Health Organisation, there is a six-month backlog on mask orders worldwide due to panic buying caused by the virus outbreak.


With SA’s cold and flu season still two months away, there hasn’t been a rush on medicine but, should there be an outbreak of the coronavirus, there could possibly be supply interruptions. Nicole Jennings, spokesperson for Pharma Dynamics, said there was no need for panic buying of face masks or medical supplies. At the moment, no cases have been confirmed in SA. “Hoarding face masks, for example, when one is healthy, means hospitals, clinics and doctors’ rooms – where it is needed most – could run out,” Jennings said. “Local and overseas manufacturers are already struggling to keep up with…

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With SA’s cold and flu season still two months away, there hasn’t been a rush on medicine but, should there be an outbreak of the coronavirus, there could possibly be supply interruptions.

Nicole Jennings, spokesperson for Pharma Dynamics, said there was no need for panic buying of face masks or medical supplies. At the moment, no cases have been confirmed in SA.

“Hoarding face masks, for example, when one is healthy, means hospitals, clinics and doctors’ rooms – where it is needed most – could run out,” Jennings said. “Local and overseas manufacturers are already struggling to keep up with the demand for medical masks and it’s the only mask used by healthcare workers in SA to protect themselves from TB.”

According to the World Health Organisation, there is a six-month backlog on mask orders worldwide due to panic buying caused by the virus outbreak, said Jennings.

“The widespread anxiety that the coronavirus has caused is understandable, but the situation in SA doesn’t call for panic.

“People need to be vigilant and practice proper hygiene.”

Jennings said the Food and Drug Administration agency in the US had identified manufacturers of about 20 medicines which either sourced all of their main ingredients from China, or whose products underwent final processes there, to determine if they will experience shortages.

“None of these firms have reported any shortages to date.

“Equally, no medicine shortages have been reported by the European Medicines Agency. However, should it develop into a global pandemic, most countries could face shortages.

“In SA, about 85% of our total pharmaceutical trade is imported from Europe and Asia, leaving us vulnerable.”

However, medical masks could run out in the next six months due to the high demand.

“Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the demand for the masks locally and abroad.

“The supply of medical devices could also be interrupted should they come from countries where the outbreak is widespread,” said Jennings.

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