People in Da Nang are scrambling to buy face masks after a local patient has tested positive for COVID-19 three times.
A 58-year-old man underwent three coronavirus tests on Thursday and Friday, and all three have returned positive, according to the Ministry of Health.
This will probably be the first local transmission in Vietnam in over three months, pending a fourth test result due to be announced later on Friday.
At least 103 people exposed to this patient have tested negative for the virus.
Da Nang authorities are tracing his contacts for quarantine.
Many people have rushed to purchase face masks, considered one of the ways to help prevent COVID-19 spread, following reports of this suspected case.
Quite a few people visited two Ong Ich Khiem drugtstores to buy face masks on Friday and came out empty-handed.
Another pharmacy said they had sold out three cardboard boxes of face masks and their stock just on Friday morning.
Many other drugstores on Quang Trung Street and Hai Phong Street in Hai Chau District, as well as those near Da Nang Hospital and Orthopedics, Trauma and Neurology Hospital are selling the face coverings in modest numbers because of limited supply.
Buyers are limited to just 10 face masks each at several pharmacies.
Sugrical masks are still available at some drugstores but more advanced coverings like N95 respirators and 3M masks are out of stock now.
Tran Thi No, a 37-year-old woman in Hai Chau District, said that she had visited three drugstores to simply find some face masks on Friday afternoon.
“I wanted to stockpile some boxes for my family use but they’re merely selling a small number,” No said.
“They told me that they sold each person a moderate number of masks.
“Buyers should only return for more after they’ve used them up.”
Face mask prices are not rising despite people scrambling for purchase, a pharmacist at a drugstore in Lien Chieu District said.
Surgical masks fetch VND2,000-4,000 apiece while cloth face coverings are priced at VND5,000-7,000 each.
Vietnam has confirmed 412 COVID-19 cases so far, with 365 recoveries and zero deaths.
The Southeast Asian country has documented no local infection in the past 99 days.
This article was originally published in Tuoitrenews