Toni Soler from Soler Feliu pharmacy trying on one of the coveted face masks | Majorca Daily Bulletin reporter - À. Cañellas

Face masks have been in high demand in the Balearic Islands for the last month because of fears over the coronavirus.

Pharmacies have sold the same amount of face masks in one month as they did in the whole of last year, according to the Cooperativa de Apotecaris.

The Cooperativa emphasised that the increase in demand, especially at pharmacies in Palma was due to fears over the spread of coronavirus. In many cases the masks were sold to Chinese people who wanted to send them to relatives and friends in Asia.

Handwashing

The Health Authorities insist that the best way to prevent the spread of the virus is by washing hands properly. The mask is more effective in areas with a broad focus of infected people because it only prevents the disease spreading from the inside out.

The General Director of Public Health, Maria Antònia Font, has made it clear that masks give a false sense of protection to the wearer and are not necessary, but hand washing definitely is very effective.

Demand for antiseptic soap for hand washing has also peaked over the last month.