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Second Covid wave: Demand for masks, oxygen concentrators soars in Kashmir

Protective mask and a hand sanitizer

Srinagar: Two months ago when Covid cases declined, Aijaz Ahmad, a chemist in Baramulla, returned all the immunity-boosting medicines and sanitizers to his supplier.

Come April, he has again started storing immunity-boosting drugs, masks, and sanitizers given the second wave in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Now I receive more than 60 people who ask for Vitamin C, multivitamin and Zinc tablets. The same is the case for masks, disinfectant solutions, and sanitizers, which had almost vanished from market in last three months,” he said.

Not just Ahmad, all the chemists in the valley are witnessed a renewed demand for masks, sanitizers, and immunity-boosting medicines.

President Kashmir Chemists and Druggist Association Fayaz Azad told The Kashmir Monitor that the chemists have placed their orders for drugs.

“Covid-19 cases have surged in the valley and all the chemists have started procuring immunity-boosting medicines, masks, and sanitizers. I personally appealed all our members to procure Remedesivir in bulk as it is recommended for the treatment of patients,” he said.

Azad said some of the stocks expired due to the low demand during winter. “Majority of the chemists returned drugs to the dealers. Now a huge consignment of masks, sanitizers, and medicines is coming to the valley,” he said.

Similarly, the demand for oxygen cylinders too has soared both at private and government levels.

A dealer at Alamgari Bazar said more people are buying oxygen cylinders. “Earlier, we used to get 5-6 inquiries per day. Now since March, we sell around 30 cylinders on an average daily,” he said.

Athrout, an NGO, which last year played a pivotal role in the fight against Covid last year, is also receiving an increased request for oxygen cylinders and concentrators.

“Of the 235 oxygen concentrators, only 80 are now available with us. Rest have been issued to needy patients,” said Mudasir Ahmad, Manager at Athrout.