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Jakarta Post

In anxious Jakarta, box of face masks worth more than gram of gold

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, February 8, 2020   /  07:32 pm
The Jakarta Post Image
Precaution: People wearing masks walk along Jl. MH Thamrin, Central Jakarta, on Thursday. Although Indonesia has not reported any infections of the new coronavirus, people have rushed to stores to buy masks to protect themselves.(JP/Dhoni Setiawan)

A box of face masks now costs more than a gram of gold in Jakarta, as many seek quick solace while the novel coronavirus spreads across the globe.    Although Indonesia has yet to confirm any case of infection, people have rushed to buy N95 masks, driving prices up to Rp 1.3 million (US$92.86) for a box containing 20 masks. In early January, such a box would be sold at around Rp 200,000. N95-type masks tightly cover the nose and mouth and can filter 95 percent of the dust particles from the air to keep them out of the wearer’s respiratory system. According to data from state-owned diversified miner PT Aneka Tambang, gold was sold for Rp 772,000 per gram on Saturday, indicating that a box of the masks equaled about 1.6 grams of gold. “This is the first time I experience a box of masks priced almost at 2 grams of gold throughout my five-year expe...