09:16 GMT24 February 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Novel Coronavirus is spreading fast in China and to many other countries turning into an international health emergency, as indicated by the World Health Organisation. The death toll in the infection has touched 170 in China alone. As a precaution, health experts suggest wearing face masks in public places.

    As the demand for N95 masks has been increasing amid the coronavirus outbreak, Chinese manufacturers started looking for overseas suppliers.

    But Indian suppliers and exporters of N95 masks advised as a precaution against the virus are said to have run out of stocks.

    Rishu Jain, Managing Director, YNM Pan Global Trade Pvt Ltd, a safety equipment provider, has revealed that dealers across the world, especially from China, have approached him with massive orders, but it’s difficult to keep up with the demand.

    “We have currently run out of N95 masks stock as the demand is very high worldwide. If earlier the demand was 100 to 200 pieces in a month, it has crossed a million now,” Jain said. 

    Long Waiting Period

    The issue of low stock cannot be attributed to one single factor as the shortage originates at the manufacturers’ units which are trying their best to keep up with the demand.

    Mayur from Mayuresh Marketing, an industrial safety equipment supplier based in the western state of Maharashtra has said, “The manufacturers have asked us to wait for a month before they deliver the N95 masks consignment. We have been receiving demands from various countries.”

    Even though the demand is soaring, a shadow looms over India’s potential to ride through this unparalleled surge as the country is a major importer of N95 masks from China.

    Another big issue in meeting the supply was Chinese dealers buying stock from India and selling it in China.

    Amit Goyal, Director of Elanor Surgical, a Delhi-based surgical equipment supplier said: “We are facing excessive shortages of N95 masks and prices are going up because of that. We don't have the stock to supply the unprecedented demand as Chinese dealers are buying stock from India for supply in their domestic market.”

    Though India is a major importer of surgical masks, the country’s market accounted for $58 million in 2017 and is projected to touch $95 million by 2025.

    The novel Coronavirus broke out in the Chinese city of Wuhan and was contracted by more than 7,700 people, the majority of them from China. Other countries such as Canada, Sri Lanka and Germany have also reported confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

    In India, three people, who travelled from China, were kept under observation in Delhi, with the country's ministry of health and family welfare confirming on Thursday that one positive case of the Wuhan virus was registered in the southern state of Kerala.


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