Face masks cost Rs. 500 to 1,000

Face masks for Coronavirus

The Governments making a concerted effort to increase the availability of face masks in the market to prevent the spread of coronavirus the country, is currently holding discussions with three local producers of face masks requesting them to increase production.

Health Ministry Secretary, Badrani Jayawardane yesterday (28), said the Ministry has requested manufacturers to go for maximum production levels and to approach as many suppliers from other countries to purchase raw materials.

Currently, China is the main supplier of raw materials for face mask production. The masks are currently being retailed at black market prices of Rs 500 to 1,000 whereas they were originally priced at around Rs 80.

Health Minister, Pavithra Wanniarachchi said that the masks were produced locally but certain entities claimed that they could be imported from various countries. No matter what there are legal aspects to be considered when importing medical equipment. Since there is an international scarcity of masks given the current crisis the main option left is to issue instructions to our own manufacturers.

The procurement of masks imported or local should adhere to prescribed regulations. Tender procedures followed during the time of her predecessor Dr. Rajitha Senaratne were highly questionable. The Government procures these through the private sector and proper legal methods have to be followed.

(Source: Ceylon Today – By Dilanthi Jayamanne)