By Nawara Fattahova
KUWAIT: After the facemask hysteria that spread in Kuwait following the announcement of the first coronavirus cases that led to all pharmacies running out of stock due to high demand, hand sanitizers have become a new craze. Awareness campaigns have encouraged people to take increased care of hygiene through systematically washing their hands or using sanitizers, which is easier when on the go. The campaigns also advise people regarding facemasks – that they should be mostly used by sick people or people in contact with sick people – focusing instead on keeping hands clean all the time.
So people got obsessed with cleaning hands and rushed to buy sanitizers, which led to the disappearance of these products from the local market. Kuwait Times visited numerous pharmacies, co-ops and supermarkets in various areas to check the availability of sanitizers, after many people complained of not being able to find them anywhere.
As of yesterday, sanitizers were not available in Salwa, Salmiya, Hawally, Faiha, Khaldiya, Adailiya and Sabah Al-Salem co-ops. Also, six pharmacies in Salmiya and one in Salwa were all out of stock. Kuwait Times also couldn’t find any sanitizers at a popular supermarket in Salmiya and another in Salwa. Both the co-ops and pharmacies put the blame on supplying companies for not providing any new stocks. They denied hoarding stocks to sell in the future at higher prices, as they know this is illegal. They also said they expect new stocks to come to the market in the next few days.
“The supplying companies said they will provide us with new stocks of sanitizers on Sunday (yesterday), but unfortunately they said that they don’t have any available as the ministry of health took all of it. So the supplying companies are waiting for new stocks from outside Kuwait. It’s possible that sanitizers and facemasks will be given with subsidized products to citizens from the co-op,” said the supermarket director of Khaldiya Co-op.
Inspectors of the ministry of commerce are inspecting various pharmacies to check for any increase in prices of goods, especially those related to the novel coronavirus, including facemasks and sanitizers. Many pharmacies have been shuttered for such violations. Some reopened after a few days, but their case is in court and they will be fined.