Coronavirus latest: Cork pharmacist needs to find new supplier of face masks as demand surges

Coronavirus latest: Cork pharmacist needs to find new supplier of face masks as demand surges
Minihan's Pharmacy

THE owner of a well-known pharmacy in the city has said that the demand for sanitising products and face masks has increased significantly over the last number of weeks.

Minihan’s Pharmacy on Oliver Plunkett Street has found it difficult to retain a supply of face masks and sanitising hand lotion and gel following the spread of coronavirus across Europe.

Owner of the pharmacy, John Minihan, said there is a particular shortage of face masks and they are looking into sourcing the products from alternative suppliers due to the demand in the normal supply chain.

Coronavirus map
Coronavirus map

“We’re finding it difficult to get a supply of facial masks as well as sanitising hand lotion and gel. There is a shortage but we’re endeavouring to make that up at the moment by looking at different suppliers.

“At the moment, we can’t get face masks and we’re out of them. We’d always have carried a stock of them, you’d carry a stock for a variety of reasons and that stock cleaned out quickly. We got another supply that also went and we’re having difficulties sourcing them at the moment,” he said.

Similarly, the demand for hand sanitiser has increased but the pharmacy has had better luck in sourcing it.

“We always had hand gel, we would always carry a stock but there was an acute increase in demand for them.

“They’re a simple thing to have in your bag or your pocket, a simple thing to use and it’s sensible for people to be buying it and using it. We’re having better luck in sourcing that. We can keep that in stock but the masks have proved a bit of a problem,” he said.

A tourist from South Korea wears protective mask while waiting for a flight back to South Korea at the Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv, Israel. 
A tourist from South Korea wears protective mask while waiting for a flight back to South Korea at the Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv, Israel. 

Although the sale of sanitising products has increased significantly at Minihan’s Pharmacy “in the last two to three weeks”, Mr Minihan would not suggest that such demand is out of panic over the coronavirus.

“People are just being careful, it’s people being responsible,” he said.

Mr Minihan, the former CEO of Ditchley nursing homes, who acts as a director for the group, said there was no immediate concern for elderly people in its nursing homes.

“Obviously we have a very high standard of hygiene and sanitisation through the normal course because in a nursing home environment, you’ll always have situations like vomiting bugs, or flus or galls, and there are very strict protocols surrounding them, so when you’re applying those standards, you’re at a far higher chance of not getting into a situation where infection is there.”

South Korean army soldiers wearing protective suits spray disinfectant to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus on a street in Daegu, South Korea
South Korean army soldiers wearing protective suits spray disinfectant to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus on a street in Daegu, South Korea

He said normal control measures are in place in nursing homes and while elderly people are a vulnerable group, he “wouldn’t be concerned”.

“It’s the normal measures you’d put in place for a vomiting bug or a flu, there’s no restrictions or anything like that but people should be responsible in this case. In the normal course of events, if a person is any way ill, be it with a flu or a heavy cold or any kind of stomach upset, they shouldn’t visit nursing homes, but that’s nothing to do with the virus that’s just the norm.”

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