As shoppers reacting to the news of Panama’s first coronavirus case crowded into supermarkets and stores on Tuesday, March 10 to stock up on alcohol-based cleaning products and gels, the Consumer Protection Authority (ACODECO) warned against price gouging.
The entity’s director Jorge Quintero, said that if traders speculate on the prices of hygiene items, they could recommend to the Executive to apply price controls to the items.
The statements came after Panama woke up Tuesday to the confirmation of the first positive case of coronavirus announced by the Ministry of Health (Minsa) , on Monday night. Supermarkets and pharmacies had long lines and crowds of people.
Quintero and the director of Free Competition of the institution, Marcos Carrizo, say that Acodeco foresaw the situation of an increase in demand for hygiene and cleaning products as a result of the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
Quintero said that they have carried out monitoring in different pharmacies and establishments that sell products such as masks and alcohol gel, to identify if there is any type of hoarding in their warehouses as a result of the increase in demand. He assures, however, that this is not the case, and that the shortage that exists is "typical of the situation."
He calls on the population, not to panic and buy "only what is necessary." Their message to merchants is that they understand that it is a "world situation from which Panama has not escaped." He advises that prices not be increased