Branches of B&Q, a hardware chain, are also reporting that they are selling out of dust masks, with shelves in one London store being empty.
Wynne Lloyd-Williams of Cymru Healthcare, a medical supply firm told the BBC, “We’ve seen a dramatic increase in demand.”
“This is unusual. They are not a significant product, but people now are thinking ‘should we purchase them?’” he added.
Virologists say the masks do not offer complete protection against airborne viruses although they do help with preventing hand to mouth infections.
N95 respirators, a stronger type of mask designed to filter out pollutants, offer more protection than ordinary surgical masks but also make breathing more difficult.