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Italy probes exorbitant prices for coronavirus masks, sanitisers

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Two senior magistrates on Tuesday said Italian authorities had begun an investigation into rocketing online prices for hygienic masks and sanitising gels following the coronavirus outbreak in northern Italy.


Italy has seen the biggest outbreak of the disease in Europe, with more than 260 cases and seven deaths reported, most in the prosperous north of the country.

Milan deputy chief prosecutor Tiziana Siciliano told Reuters “we have decided to open an investigation after media reports of the insane prices fetched up by these products (masks and gels) on online sales websites in the last two days.

As the disease has spread, many pharmacists say they have run out of hygienic masks and hand sanitisers, and many people have resorted to online sites where prices have shot up.

“The price of masks online has risen from one cent to 10 euros each and a litre  bottle of disinfectant that last week was on sale for 7 euros, was up to 39 euros yesterday,’’ Siciliano said.

Research institute Nielsen said sales of hand sanitiser gels in Italy rose to 900,000 packs in the first six weeks of 2020, a nine-fold rise over the previous year and are expected to reach 1 million by the end of February.

“Sales of hygienic hand gels have gone through the roof.

“The shelves of big retailers (hypermarkets, supermarkets, cash and carry, specialist pharmacists and discounters) have been cleared out,’’ the institute said.

As the emergency has spread, police have also issued warnings that criminals posing as health inspectors have been using false identity papers to try to gain access to people’s houses to steal money or other valuables.

Edited By: Hadiza Mohammed/Emmanuel Yashim



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Olawale Olukoga: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

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