Sales of mosquito repellents soar in Singapore amid Zika outbreak


Stocks of some mosquito repellents have sold out or are running low as of Monday evening at the Watsons outlet at International Plaza, near Tanjong Pagar MRT (Photo: Erin Kimbrell/Yahoo Singapore)

Pharmacies and retail stores in Singapore are reporting on Monday (29 August) a surge in the sales of mosquito repellents after 41 cases of locally transmitted Zika virus infection were confirmed over the weekend.

The strong demand for the products comes amid concerns that there could be more cases of Zika infection in Singapore as more people were sent to the Communicable Diseases Centre (CDC) for tests on Monday. The Ministry of Health (MOH) said that there have been 15 more locally transmitted Zika cases as of 12 pm on Monday.

At the four Watsons personal care stores in Aljunied Crescent and Sims Drive, where the Zika cluster is designated, there has been a spike in the sales of mosquito repellents.

“Over the past weekend, across all our Watsons personal care stores here, we noted a sales increase of more than 100 per cent for these products. Their prices, of course, will remain the same,” said Dominic Wong, General Manager of Watsons.

Watsons is currently replenishing stocks of mosquito repellents at its stores to meet the anticipated increase in demand, Wong added.

Guardian has also reported a surge in demand for mosquito repellents since the announcement of the Zika cases. Sales of these products islandwide have increased by 100 per cent compared to last week, while sales at the five Guardian stores in the Aljunied area have spiked by 300 per cent over the same period, a Guardian spokesperson told Yahoo Singapore.

“We understand the public’s concern and need to take preventive measures against the virus – and we are working closely with our suppliers round the clock to ensure we ramp up on the stock of mosquito repellent items for the Zika-affected areas and across the island,” the spokesperson said.

At the Guardian outlet in Sun Plaza, near Sembawang MRT, a sales assistant said that one customer bought more than $300 worth of mosquito repellent patches on Monday morning.

One couple at the pharmacy, who didn’t wish to be identified, told Yahoo Singapore certain mosquito repellents that they were planning to buy were almost out of stock. They added that the Zika outbreak had prompted them to buy the products.

At all the Unity Pharmacy outlets, sales of mosquito repellents such as sprays and patches have gone up by 50 per cent, said Andy Wan, Director of wholesale at Unity Pharmacy, NTUC Health.

Wan said, “All 59 Unity Pharmacies are well stocked with mosquito repellent items to cater to the general public.”

The Ministry of Health and the National Environment Agency are urging people in Singapore to take steps to prevent mosquito breeding in their homes by doing the 5-step Mozzie Wipeout every other day and apply insect repellents regularly.

- additional reporting by Erin Kimbrell