A Maltese hardware supplier has taken to Facebook to announce that it has run out of dust masks following a sudden spike in sales.
Some of the masks, which are not medical grade, are believed to have been bought to be sent abroad.
The virus, which is believed to have originated in a province in China, has spread around the world, with the first case confirmed in Sicily earlier today with seven coronavirus-related deaths confirmed in Italy in total.
A representative from Gauci Borda told Lovin Malta that they were surprised by the sudden sales.
“We’ve never experienced a surge in masks sales like this, and it’s surprising because they aren’t even medical masks, but dust masks used in hardware stores,” they said.
“We did not expect it,” he continued. “It’s important that people understand that these are dust masks, we are not selling them as medical masks.”
Some of the masks that have been sold were bought by foreign people with the intention to ship them abroad.
This is not the first time Malta saw a sudden surge in masks sales, with pharmacies running out of face masks a earlier this month when news of the coronavirus first broke.