Moscow, Feb 3: The Chinese authorities closely monitor all instances of pricing manipulation on essential items such as masks and foods amid coronavirus-related health emergency, with more than 1,400 such incidents registered and reviewed so far, State Administration for Market Regulation deputy director Gan Lin said.
"For as long as measures are underway to prevent and control the spread of the new coronavirus strain, the key objective of our work is to supervise the quality and order of prices on goods that are necessary to protect oneself from infection, such as masks and foods, including rice noodles, vegetable and fruit," Gan said at a press conference.
According to the official, it has become commonplace when individual vendors and companies abuse the health emergency situation to spike prices and increase revenues from essential anti-virus items. As of February 1, 1,413 such cases have been launched and investigated. She said violators, such as several pharmacies in Beijing's Fengtai district and the city of Tianjin, would be fined 3 million yuan ($435,000).
Some experts fear that the outbreak will hurt China's economy. On Monday, markets opened with seeing Chinese shares experience a painful 8 percent drop. (SPUTNIK)