By Elizabeth Sundlof • 24 February 2020 • 17:00
Shelves are gaping empty in supermarkets in Italy. A mass hysteria created by the outbreak of the Coronavirus has caused people to stock up on water, pasta, conserves and food with long shelf life.
Supermarkets in several areas near the recent outbreak of the coronavirus have completely sold out their supply of soap, hand sanitizers, wet wipes, bleach, latex gloves and face masks. The same goes for pharmacies.
In an attempt to calm the collective hysteria, councillor for Social Welfare of the Lombardy region, Giulio Gallera, assures that shopping centres and other stores will remain open, although schools, universities, museums, cinemas and discos are closed. Even one of the leaders of one of the biggest supermarket chains felt compelled to issue a press release: “We are ready to face any need. The warehouses are full, it’s just about transporting the products to the shelves.” This did not help.
Consumer associations have reported that prices of some products have skyrocketed online. The president of Codacons, Carlo Rienzi, gave a couple of examples:
A classic 80 ml. Disinfectant gel, which is normally on the market for €3, is now sold on the web for €22.50, 650 times the original price!
“The protective masks that were previously sold for less than 10 cents each, now cost €1.80 on the internet, with an increase of the price of 1,700%,” he says.
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