Face masks snapped up at GPO outlet as ban on exports lifted
A queue of 700 people began forming as early as 3am this morning in front of the main outlet of the Government Pharmaceutical Organization, the maximum number eligible to buy a set of ten face masks, one bottle of 450 cc alcohol and two tubes of sanitizer gel at a total cost of 99 baht.
GPO deputy director Mrs. Sirikul Methiveerangsan said that, normally, about 400 people turn up to buy face masks, but the turnout this morning was unusual because this is the last day that the GPO will sell masks to the public, after which the responsibility will be transferred to the Internal Trade Department.
She said that face masks, allocated by the Internal Trade Department, will be sent to hospitals as the first priority because medical personnel are facing shortages.
Due to concerns over COVID-19, stores have completely sold out.
While face masks are unavailable on the high street, the Central Committee for Pricing of Products and Services has quietly lifted the temporary ban on their export.
Internal Trade Department director-general Vichai Pochanakit, in his capacity as secretary-general of the Central Committee for Pricing of Products and Services, signed an announcement on February 21st allowing the controlled export of face masks, requiring exporters to seek prior permission from the secretary-general.