Pharmacy retailer Boots says that its six-pack of “safe & sound” surgical face masks is sold out, as is another box of 50 masks.The company said it was “working to make additional stock available for customers to purchase in store and on which we hope will land over the next week.”One mask still available for sale on is retailing for a whopping £99.99, though most others on the website are completely out of stock.


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.