People wait to purchase face masks at a Hanaro-mart in Seoul on Saturday. (Yonhap)
Amid government-led efforts to ramp up the production and supply of face masks, some 4.7 million have been supplied to authorized distributors nationwide, health officials said Saturday.
South Korea’s Korea Food & Drug Administration said 4.5 million face masks were allocated to pharmacies and 190,000 to Nonghyup Hanaro Mart.
“Masks can be purchased at drugstores nationwide, and with the exception of Seoul and Gyeonggi Province they can also be found at Hanaro Mart stores,” said Yang Jin-young, a Korea Food & Drug Administration official, during a press briefing at the agency’s headquarters.
At pharmacies, customers can buy two masks per person March 6-8 upon presenting identification.
Until a system to track individual customer purchases is rolled out, mask sales are limited to one per person at Nonghyup Hanaro Mart stores.
Starting March 9, customers will be able to purchase two masks weekly on designated days of the week, depending on the last digit of the purchaser’s year of birth.
Mondays are for birth years ending in 1 or 6, Tuesdays 2 or 7, Wednesdays 3 or 8, Thursdays 4 or 9 and Fridays 5 or 0. Customers who cannot get their hands on a mask during the week can make their purchases on weekends.
By Kim Bo-gyung