"Fascinated with simplifying the complicated and writing on the extraordinary lives of ordinary people. Also, a hodophile."
A surgical store in Kerala's Kochi is making face masks available at a price of Rs 2 per piece to the neediest - medical teams and students.
The shop has reportedly sold over 5,000 masks in just two days, pricing the commodity at its original price.
Nadheem, the co-owner of the shop, said, "We have sold around 5,000 masks at Rs 2 each in two days. We decided to sell masks at a reasonable price especially to the common people like hospital staff and students."
Thasleem PK, who is also a co-owner said, "We have been selling masks at Rs 2 for the last 8 years. But now, the rate has gone up everywhere. We bought the masks at Rs 8 or Rs 10 and are selling at Rs 2, while others are selling at Rs 25."
The gesture garners attention at a time when medical stores and pharmacies across the country are charging excessively for the face masks and hand sanitizers which the government has declared as essential commodities in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
An inherent increase in demand due to a surge in COVID-19 positive cases and precautionary measures has led to the shortage in the market, prompting people to horde these essentials.
However, both the owners of this store said that they were not worried about the business despite incurring loses due to lowered price.
Hinting at the current scenario, the owners said they cannot predict the situation but they are hoping that their initiative might inspire others who are resorting to hiking prices during the corona-panic.
The Centre has also invoked the Disaster Management Act to ensure price regulation and availability of surgical and protective masks, hand sanitizers and gloves.
Last week, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the outbreak of coronavirus as a pandemic.
Globally, over 170,000 confirmed cases have been reported and more than 5,400 people have lost their lives due to the disease.
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