Face masks are in high demand due to the coronavirus outbreak in China and many vendors are reportedly exploiting the situation by selling substandard or fake masks.
Authorities recently seized over 31 million fake masks. Sheer desperation to be safe from the COVID-19 has prompted people to buy any mask that is claimed to give protection against the virus.
Masks have been made compulsory in at least two regions in China, including Wuhan, where the coronavirus broke out.
As the situation remains grim, donations from common people to celebrities are pouring in to help treat those suffering from coronavirus, and for people to buy enough masks which are in short supply.
Even online platforms like Amazon have warned traders against trying to jack up mask prices and indulging in price gouging. Amazon is said to have already deleted some of the listings of companies that had increased the prices of necessary tools like face masks, reported Wired.
The Chinese government had foreseen this in January itself and directed authorities concerned to raid traders selling counterfeit masks.
The authorities are said to be looking into around 690 cases of counterfeit mask manufacture using substandard material. More than 1,500 suspects have been arrested.
Many companies that previously had nothing to do with medical supplies, have come forward to manufacture medical masks. The firms include electronics manufacturer Foxconn.
The death toll due to coronavirus has crossed 2,700 in China alone.