‘No obvious increase in masks sold’

National 2 minutes, 44 seconds


THERE has been no significant increase in the sales of surgical masks, said retailers yesterday.

Others, meanwhile, told The Brunei Times that the selling out of surgical masks are of the norm and not entirely due to the current hazy conditions in Brunei.

An earlier report said that face masks were selling like hot cakes due to the haze but retailers interviewed yesterday said there was no obvious change in the recent sales of these masks.

A pharmacist at the Guardian Pharmacy branch at Centrepoint in Gadong shared that there was still at least one box of fifty surgical face masks available at the pharmacy.

The pharmacist, who did not wish to be named, said she encountered one or two people who had bought three to four pieces of surgical masks in a single purchase last week.

However, she maintained that this was not out of the ordinary, stating that the pharmacy “(had) not really experienced an influx of customers” during the haze.

The pharmacist also said that rushes for surgical masks were usually more obvious when there are disease outbreaks or epidemics, citing the example of the avian influenza (bird flu) outbreak a few years back.

A cashier interviewed at the same pharmacy branch added that he had served one person who bought two or three boxes of surgical masks last week.

However, the cashier said he did not know if the face masks had been purchased because of the haze.

Similar sentiments were shared by a spokesperson for the Utama Grand Superstore at The Mall.

According to the spokesperson, stocks of surgical face masks at the store were “as per normal” and there was “no rush” of customers to obtain the masks.

At press time, Jaya Hypermart Supermarket employee Joel said that they had no stock of surgical face masks but said that he was unsure if it was due to the recent bad air quality conditions.

Joel said that he did not recall seeing any customers coming into the store to specifically request to buy the masks.

An unnamed employee at the Guardian Pharmacy branch in the Mall also told The Brunei Times that the branch had sold out of surgical masks.

She however said that the pharmacy regularly sells out all their surgical face masks every week.

She recalled the pharmacy had sold out the surgical masks a while back, even before the Pollutant Standard Index (PSI) readings started rising in the country earlier this week.

Lau, the Manager of Hua Ho Manggis Mall, however, said the department store had sold out its stock of surgical face masks which had been "moving very fast".

Lau explained that the masks had sold out a few days ago because of the haze.

It was previously reported that local PSI readings were as high as 70 on March 27, with the Brunei-Muara District recording a PSI reading of 47 on Thursday.

The high PSI readings were believed to have resulted from bush fires which had affected several areas of the country in the past week.

However, the PSI readings for all four districts at 4pm yesterday was at 22 or below on the Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation’s website.

PSI readings below 50 are regarded as good while readings between 50 and 100 are moderate.

The Brunei Times