The Chief of Tehran Prevention Police on Monday said 500,000 masks hoarded by an Iranian man and his Chinese wife have been discovered in a residential parking in eastern Tehran.
According to Keyvan Zahiri, neighbors alerted the police that the masks, now very highly in demand due to coronavirus outbreak in Iran, were being hoarded in the couple's parking.
The masks, purchased directly from the manufacturer, were confiscated by the authorities and were distributed to drugstores in the area.
The Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) on Monday also reported the discovery of hoarded masks in northern Iran by special surveillance units to prevent hoarding of masks and disinfectant products.
Since the announcement of the first two coronavirus deaths in Qom in central Iran, masks and disinfectant gels have been in highly demand and disappeared from the shelves in most drugstores and pharmacies across the country.
According to some reports at some drugstores masks and disinfectant products have been selling at much higher prices. In many areas drugstores are now displaying signs on their windows saying they have run out of masks, alcohol and disinfectant products.
According to other reports, authorities in Ardabil in northwestern Iran have shut down a drugstore for selling masks at highly inflated prices.
The Ministry of Health on Saturday announced it will distribute masks for free at government healthcare facilities along with disinfectants and instructions for using them. Authorities have said that in Qom, the ground zero of the outbreak, masks and disinfectant products will be distributed door to door.
The ministry has ordered all manufacturers to provide at least fifty percent of the masks they produce on a daily basis to the ministry in return for immediate cash payments.
According to the latest official announcements the number of coronavirus deaths has risen to 12 and 47 had tested positive but a lawmaker today claimed that fifty had died of coronavirus in his constituency, Qom, where the first deaths were announced on Thursday. Health Ministry officials have refuted his claim.