Amazon has seen face mask sales surge in the UK over the past 24 hours amid fears of the spread of the coronavirus, despite major doubts over their effectiveness.
Disposable masks have jumped to the top of Amazon’s best-seller lists as cautious consumers continue to buy the masks in droves.
Packs of 50 disposable masks are now the fastest-selling item in Amazon’s list of its most popular products in the beauty category.
The pack of Relmos-branded masks, which retail at £39, have seen sales increase by 846% over the past 24 hours, according to the retailer’s website.
The fifth fastest-selling product in the beauty category is a pack of 50 Brussels-branded face masks, which are currently out of stock on the website.
Sales of these masks have increased by 400% over the past 24 hours, according to the site.
Packs of 20 disposable dust masks have also jumped to become one of the retailer’s best-selling DIY products, reporting a sales increase of 8,930% over the past day.
In its baby products category, three of the four hottest items are also variations of face masks, with sales of one dust mask for children reporting a sales increase of 214%.
Pharmacy retailers have also reported a jump in sales on masks, with Boots confirming earlier this week that sales were on the increase.
The National Pharmacy Association said there has been a “considerable increase” in demand, with some bought by Chinese tourists ahead of their potential return to China.
— Department of Health and Social Care (@DHSCgovuk) January 31, 2020
On Friday, the Department of Health confirmed that two people from the same family have tested positive for coronavirus in England.
Despite increasing sales, health officials have raised doubts over the effectiveness of using the masks to protect against the virus.
Dr Jake Dunning, head of emerging infections and zoonoses, Public Health England, said: “Face masks play a very important role in clinical settings, such as hospitals.
“However, there is very little evidence of widespread benefit from their use outside of these clinical settings.
“People concerned about the transmission of infectious diseases would do better to prioritise good personal, respiratory and hand hygiene.”
Amazon declined to comment.