TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club(YJC)-A senior judicial official said on Tuesday that the harshest penalties await those hoarding protective gears meant to confront coronavirus like face masks and disinfectants.
“There would be zero tolerance against hoarders and profiteers of these data-x-items and judges are supposed to hand down the most severe punishments to these people,” said Saeid Omrani, a deputy to Iran’s prosecutor general.
The comments came amid reports of a shortage of face masks and other sanitary products in Iran as a rise of infections and deaths related to coronavirus has caused widespread panic across the country.
Government authorities have adopted measures to confront hoarding while calling for solidarity from the public and private sector to ensure that people could have proper access to the highly-needed protective gear.
The ministry of industries (MIMT) said on Monday that plants and factories producing face masks would turn into full capacity to respond to growing demands in the market. The Ministry of Defense also ordered a ramp-up of production of disinfectant liquids in its factories to reach 20,000 liters a day.
More than 90 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Iran since the infection was identified in a city in central Iran on Wednesday. The government has put the number of deaths as a result of the virus at 12 as of Tuesday noon local time.
Government authorities also announced on Tuesday that supplies of food and medicine would be maintained during the outbreak of the virus in Iran, urging households to refrain from panic buying.
An MIMT official told the IRNA news agency that supply of staples like meat and rice was two times the country’s need at the current circumstances.
Hossein Modarresi said that supermarkets had been urged to lift any limit on the amount of products they offer to shoppers including food and antiseptics.