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1.2 million masks to be sold at pharmacies nationwide starting Friday: Finance Minister Updated: 2020-02-28 07:05:33 KST

Faced with a shortage of protective face masks,…the South Korean government had previously said on Wednesday it will ensure that there is a daily supply of masks to state-run or public retailers,… starting as early as Thursday afternoon.
But on Thursday evening, pharmacies were saying the situation had not improved.

"This pharmacy took down its 'sold out' sign after the government's announcement, but it still hasn't received any masks yet."

"We were relieved at the news, but when we called the distributor, they said it's likely the supply of masks won't happen until next week. We're in desperate need of masks here, there are not enough masks even for us to wear."

"I went to a drug store near my house and they've said they have no masks. So I went to another one across the street, and still, no masks I went all the way to Konkuk University, where there are lots of drug stores, but none of them had any."

With concerns rising, the finance minister gave an official apology on Thursday afternoon and said that one.two million masks will be sold at pharmacies nationwide starting Friday.

"Despite various measures being taken, I'm sorry to say that we're seeing a disruption in mask supplies. We believe it may take a day or two more to supply public retailers. A total of two.four million masks will be supplied to pharmacies nationwide an average of one hundred masks each to around 24-thousand pharmacies."

He added that 230-thousand masks will be sent to the city of Daegu and Gyeongsangbuk-do Province.
According to Statistics Korea on Thursday, online mask prices were cheaper than in stores before the coronavirus outbreak but now they are much more expensive.
And with the outbreak expected to last for a while, the demand for masks is likely to remain high for the time being.
Kim Jae-hee, Arirang News.
Reporter : jhee@arirang.com
KOGL : Korea Open Government License
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