The selling of masks has increased significantly in Ahmedabad and throughout Gujarat as a result of concern over the spread of the Omicron sub-variant BF.7 virus. Chemists and druggists in the state reported a noticeable increase of more than 20% in mask sales. Sales of sanitizers and hand washing supplies are also gradually increasing.
“Two weeks ago, 1.5 lakh pieces of masks were sold per day in Gujarat. This has gone up to about 2.5 lakh pieces in the last 3-4 days. Ahmedabad’s share from this increased sale is about 30%, and same is the case with sanitisers too. In the next few weeks, demand and sales are likely to go up by three times,” Federation of Gujarat State Chemist and Druggist Association (FGSCDA) Chairman Alpesh Patel said.
About 90% of these are 3-layer (surgical) single-use masks, with the remainder being made up of N-95 masks and other masks. According to FGSCDA research, customers typically purchase packets of 50 or 100 masks for their entire family as well as for travel. Manufacturers and chemists in Ahmedabad claim that institutional purchasing is one of the factors contributing to the spike in mask sales.
Chirag Kabra, MD, Nikshe Multi Products Ltd, which manufactures personal protective equipment like PPE kits and masks, said, “Institutional demand for masks and other products has gone higher as they buy in bulk. This includes government bodies, hospitals and companies like pharmaceutical, food, electronic, automobile, etc. who stock it for employees and customers.”
Another manufacturer claimed that because there are so many micro, small, and medium-sized businesses producing masks and sanitizers locally, price increases for masks and PPE kits are unlikely to occur.
The demand for gel-based sanitizers has surpassed that for those with high alcohol content, according to the FGSCDA. This is due to the skin problems caused by high-alcohol-based sanitizers in the past. Currently, the state’s total sales of sanitizers have only slightly increased by 2–5%.