- Additional reporting by Eoin English
Pharmacies across the country are seeing a rush on sales of protective facemasks and antibacterial hand sanitiser as public fears over the coronavirus (Covid-19) grow.
The huge demand for the products comes as a professor of microbiology at Trinity College Dublin said it was inevitable that a case will arrive in Ireland.
A spokesperson for Boots said it sold out of facemasks in all of its stores and online due to the huge demand for the product but that it still had hand sanitiser in stock.
"We have seen an increase in sales of Boots Anti-Viral hand foam and hand sanitisers but we still have stock available in our warehouses for stores and online. We are currently out of stock of surgical face masks in stores and online and are aware that there is a high demand from customers to purchase these masks," said the spokesperson.
A spokesperson for CarePlus Pharmacy said stocks of hand sanitiser in its network of over 60 pharmacies nationwide are low and said there are issues with supply globally given the increased demand.
“We are continuing to engage with manufacturers with a view of re-stocking a range of hand sanitiser products as soon as possible, taking into account supply chain considerations that are outside of our control at this time,” they said.
A spokesperson for Hickeys Pharmacy said its pharmacies were experiencing "a huge demand" for the products and that arriving deliveries of extra stock are selling out quickly.
McCabes Pharmacy has also experienced a surge in demand in its stores for facemasks and hand sanitiser.
"We are experiencing stock shortages of both and this would be the same across all pharmacies. Hospitals and GP surgeries would have priority to be supplied with these items as they have a greater need. This means less stock is available to supply pharmacies," said a spokesperson.
Meath-based pharmacy supplier MedGuard has posted on its website that it currently has no stock of facemasks and is having "extreme difficulty" in getting more.