Amid rising infection cases and deaths from the new coronavirus, protective gear like face masks has surged in sales.
Economic police units in Hanoi yesterday launched an inspection campaign at medical equipment shops and pharmacies across the Vietnamese capital city to crack down on those who are taking advantage of the nCoV epidemic to sell protective masks at high prices.
A store located at 120 Ngoc Khanh Street in Ba Dinh District owned by Nguyen Thi Nhung sold 30 boxes of surgical masks by the time of the inspection at the price of VND130,000-220,000 (US$5.63-9.52) each whereas the commodity normally fetch only VND50,000 ($2.16) a box.
Police officers seized 680 facemasks without receipt.
Inspection team continued to pay visit to the next-door store, located at 118 Ngoc Khanh Street which surgical masks at prices of VND300,000-350,000 ($13-15.15) a box, which is much higher than the normal price.
Coronavirus is driving sales of face masks. Residents in the central city of Da Nang flocked to drug stores to buy facemasks. A shop assistant in Phuong Anh drug store at 128 Nguyen Thi Dinh in Son Tra District in Da Nang said the store has run out of facemasks.
Face masks and hand sanitizers have flown off shelves at drugstores and supermarkets in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City as demand rises, fueled by the fear of the nCoV epidemic from China.
Resident Nguyen Thanh Hai in Da Nang said that he has bought four boxes of facemasks for family members.