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Ebay Bans Sale of Face Masks, Hand Sanitizer in Order to Fight Price Gouging

Coronavirus panic has hit the world of online retail.

Fears of a pandemic outbreak of the COVID-19 strain of coronavirus have reached the far corners of the globe, and online retailers are now feeling the effects of the panicked masses.

With over 100,000 currently infected by the virus worldwide, (and over 3,000 deaths thus far), there are plenty of reasons to be concerned about COVID-19, but panic does no one any good.  The Center for Disease Control in Atlanta has repeatedly stated that the most powerful preventive action that one can take is to thoroughly and frequently wash their hands with soap and water for at least twenty seconds.

As far as those surgical masks go, don’t bother:  They may prevent a sick person from sneezing or coughing into the public are, but they don’t create enough of a seal to keep the illness out.

Of course these warnings have not stopped anyone from disproportionately stocking up on these and other items meant to stave off the virus.  The procurement panic has been so powerful, in fact, that eBay has been forced to take drastic measures.

In a notice to eBay sellers posted Thursday and spotted earlier by CNBC, eBay said it would block new listings and remove existing listings in the US for disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer and face masks, including N95/N100 masks and surgical masks. The listings are being removed due to concerns that inflated prices for these products may violate US laws or regulations. eBay also said it will remove any listings, except for books, that mention COVID-19, coronavirus or 2019nCoV in the title or description.

It’s unclear how long the ban will last. A spokeswoman for eBay said the company is monitoring the coronavirus situation.

The online retailer was also concerned about the efficacy claims being made by several sellers, which contributed to the enacting of the temporary policy.

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