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Feb 05, 2020 / 13:54

Hanoi authority seizes 120,000 Chinese-bound face masks

Two people owning these face masks said they bought face masks in large quantities in southern provinces with the purpose of exporting to China to gain profit.

Hanoi’s market surveillance agency on February 4 seized 120,000 medical face masks with no information on origin, which were on the way to Lao Cai province en route to be exported to China, local media reported.

 The authority seized 120,000 face masks, which later would be exported to China. 

A representative of Nu Hoang company, a transport company located in Thanh Xuan district, said the company was hired to deliver these products to Lao Cai.

Two people owning these face masks later said they bought face masks in large quantities in southern provinces with the purpose of exporting to China to gain profit.

On the same day, market surveillance authorities fined 95 drug stores for driving up prices of face masks with VND197.1 million (US$8,468) and confiscated 137,776 face masks, taking the total number to 2,180 stores fined from January 31 to February 4 with 460,000 face masks being seized.

The authority said demand for face masks has been rising as the outbreak of the new coronavirus (nCoV) is going on, leading to a surge in prices and supply shortage nationwide.

In addition to drug stores, major retailers such as Coop Mart and drug chain Pharmacity announced their face masks are out of stock, which could be restocked by the mid of this week.

Local mask producers at a previous meeting with the Ministry of Industry and Trade said they consider face mask production their social responsibility and are committed to not raising prices as people are stockpiling the products in prevention of the outbreak.

At a government meeting on February 1, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam warned drug stores to refrain from hiking prices of face masks or see their licenses revoked, adding this is the matter of morality and discipline.