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2020.02.04 14:00

Coronavirus: Lithuanians ‘clearing out’ stocks of face masks

Laura Adomavičienė, LRT.lt2020.02.04 14:00

Despite Lithuania not having a single case of coronavirus, the sale of face masks has gone up tenfold.

The people are “clearing out face masks from the pharmacies,” director of BENU Vaistinė pharmacies, Rasa Marcinkevičienė, told LRT.lt. “Their sales rose ten-fold several days ago.” Other pharmacy chains reported similar results.

Read more: Coronavirus scare: dozen people tested in Lithuania, no confirmed cases

Many of the buyers were foreign nationals who may have sent them to China, according to Laura Bielskė, the head of communications at Eurovaistinė pharmacies. “We are trying to make sure we have [enough face masks] if an epidemy does happen [in Lithuania],” she said.

China is facing a shortage of protective suits and face masks following the spread of coronavirus that has already claimed oveer 400 lives.

Eurovaistinė said it was informed by its Chinese suppliers on Thursday that all shipments of face masks have been halted.

Meanwhile, the masks do not protect other people from coronavirus or seasonal flu, according to a specialist at the National Public Health Centre's (NSVC), Daiva Razmuvienė.

“Medical masks only protect the person who is sick, coughs, and sneezes and [the masks is there] to stop the spread of a virus via droplets,” she told LRT.lt. “However, the mask does not stop the virus if the person is in close conact.”

“If a sick person is in a [clinic] and he doesn’t want to infect other people, then the person should sit at least one metre away [...] to protect others.”

“The mask is more of a psychological aid,” she added.

Chinese authorities have claimed that only surgical masks and special respirators FFP2 and FFP3 can protect against coronavirus, a Lithuanian architect living in China, Mindaugas Skrupskelis, previously told LRT.lt.

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