Face masks in high demand, pharmacies running short

The first positive COVID-19 test in Samoa that came back negative on the second test has led to high demand for face masks on Thursday morning. 

Members of the public crowded outside pharmacies outlet to purchase the protective wears following the announcement of the case by the Government early Thursday.

Others turned to small stores and handicraft businesses in their search of face masks when they were told that some of the pharmacy outlets have run out of stock. 

Businesses are making the most of the high demand by sewing reusable masks from poplin fabric. 

Staff from most of the pharmacies in the town area confirmed the shortage and limited stock of face masks and hand sanitisers for some outlets. 

“Sorry we ran out this morning from panic buyers,” a staff from Maria’s Health Care Pharmacy said. 

“Our new supply is expected to arrive end of November but we are hoping it will arrive sooner than expected…” 

The same response was received from staff in the Multipharm Laboratories and Pharmacy in Sogi and Alpha Café and Pharmacies in Moto’otua. 

A staff from the Niu Pharmacy in Saleufi said they have a few left but suspects that it will run out with people buying more than they need.

The last time the face masks and hand sanitisers were in short supply was in March this year when there was a suspected covid-19 case from a passenger traveling in from New Zealand. The test for that passenger came out negative ensuring the country was still free from covid.   

Prior to the reported case on Thursday morning – Samoa was one of the less than 10 countries listed as covid-free amongst other Pacific islands.

Concerned members of the public returned to taking precautionary measures by wearing face masks in public and following social distance. 

Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi, in a live address to the nation on Thursday morning, called for calm as authorities confirmed the country's first positive covid-19 test. 

The man who tested positive is a sailor who arrived in Samoa on a repatriation flight from Auckland last Friday. 

He has been removed from a quarantine facility and placed in an isolation ward at the Tupua Tamasese Meaole national hospital.

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