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Residents comply with govt order; demand surges for masks, gloves

The demand for protective gear against the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) surged as the wearing of face masks in public became mandatory in the country Sunday.

The latest directive from the Qatar government forms part of its efforts to prevent and control the spread of Covid-19 and ensure the safety and welfare of people in the country. Based on Decree Law No 17 of 1990 regarding the prevention of infectious diseases, violators will face jail time not exceeding three years and a fine of up to QR200,000, or either of these two penalties.

The implementation of this new directive witnessed many pharmacies and other shops in Doha receiving more customers for face masks and face shields.

Speaking to Gulf Times, an employee at a leading pharmacy in Qatar said most of the customers Sunday bought face masks, gloves and hand sanitisers.

“We are extremely busy, a lot of customers today. We expect the demand to increase further in the coming days,” she observed while noting that they have a steady supply of such items and enough stocks for several months.

This was echoed by a staff member of an online shop that sells similar items, saying they recorded a surge in the number of orders Sunday.

“Besides individuals, we also received many additional orders of face masks from companies, which I think will be distributed to their employees,” the staff member said. LuLu Group International regional manager Shanavas P M said all their stores have enough supplies and stocks of face masks to meet the demand surge.

Expecting the demand to continue even beyond the Covid-19 pandemic, he said these items will always be available at all their stores across the country.

It is learnt that many employees, particularly those who regularly report to work, also bring extra pieces of face masks whenever they leave home.

“A face mask is an extremely important item, which we should not forget to take before going out. It is on top of my checklist,” said Filipino expatriate Joseph R, who has “at least two more masks” in his bag. He said he also constantly wears goggles for added protection against Covid-19.

According to a number of shops, the demand for face shields and goggles also continues to increase.

Under a recent Cabinet decision, people in Qatar have to compulsorily wear face masks while stepping out of home for any reason, except “when a person is alone while driving a vehicle”. The Ministry of Interior is authorised to take necessary measures to enforce the rule.

The decision will remain in effect until further notice.

On its part, the Ministry of Public Health has stressed the need for people to properly dispose of used masks and gloves. “Inappropriate disposal can put others’ lives at risk,” it noted in a video advisory.

Source: The Gulf Times


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