Back on January 31, comedian Park Myung Soo discussed various trending topics worldwide during his KBS Cool FM radio program, alongside big data analyst Jeon Min Ki and announcer Jo Woo Jong.
Announcer Jeon Min Ki pointed out, "One of the biggest trending topics recently is the Novel Coronavirus. Its keywords include China, pneumonia, Wuhan, symptoms, masks, bats, etc. Soon after media outlets reported that the Novel Coronavirus was spreading quicker than MERS, medical masks became entirely sold out. Because Korean medical masks are thicker, the demand for them is high in China and Taiwan also. This is why the prices have hiked up recently."
Hearing this, Park Myung Soo relayed, "I also ordered some medical masks in light of the Coronavirus warning, but then I received a message saying that my order was cancelled as there were no more in stock." Announcer Jo Woo Jong chimed in with, "I saw that medical masks which used to be sold for a few thousand KRW (meaning below $10 USD) are now selling in the hundred thousand KRWs (~ $80-100 USD)."
Park Myung Soo then said in a critical tone, "Trying to profit from threats to people's health... Of course, the balance between supply and demand is uneven here, but that's still wrong. Everyone is getting ahold of masks just barely these days, so raising up those prices would make it even more difficult."
Jo Woo Jong also remarked, "I've also heard that the factory workers who make masks are exhausted from the workload these days." Meanwhile, as of February 1, a total of 12 individuals have been detected of contracting the Novel Coronavirus within South Korea.