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France to regulate price of hand sanitisers amid coronavirus outbreak

The French government will publish a decree regulating the price of antibacterial gel.
The French government will publish a decree regulating the price of antibacterial gel. © Guillaume Souvant, AFP

France will put a cap on antibacterial gel prices after pharmacists and consumers reported a steep increase since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Wednesday.

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A decree regulating the price would be published during the day, Le Maire told French BFM Business radio.

A pharmacists’ union on Wednesday told Franceinfo radio that the price rise was unacceptable, and called for government intervention.

On Tuesday, President Emmanuel Macron said the government would take control of current and future stocks of face masks to ensure they could go to health workers and coronavirus patients.

“In this period we’re going through – we have entered a phase that will last weeks and, undoubtedly, months – it is indispensable to have clarity, resilience, sangfroid and determination to stop the epidemic,” Macron said during a visit to the government's virus crisis center.

Le Maire has urged the French public to refrain from panic-buying amid fears over the virus’s spread, warning that binge-shopping for household essentials could trigger shortages.

France is Europe’s second-most affected country, with health officials reporting a total of more than 200 cases and four deaths.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)

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