A Brisbane pharmacy has restricted the sale of surgical masks as the chief medical officer pleads with Australians not to wear or waste them amid coronavirus fears.
Airport Pharmacy group director Rajiv Bhindi says their Gold Coast and Adelaide stores are out of stock of the masks while their Brisbane pharmacy has limited supplies.
Demand for surgical masks has declined and they are expecting to restock their Gold Coast and Adelaide airport locations within the next week, he said.
"Due to the limited supply, we have been restricting sales to five masks per customer," Mr Bhindi said.
"The initial panic buying has settled and requests are generally only for a small quantity of masks by Australian customers."
Several chemists in the Brisbane CBD are out of stock, with two chain pharmacies saying they have not had masks for more than a month.
One pharmacy staff member said their customers had been buying masks to send overseas.
Australia's Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said there was a strong likelihood of more cases in Australia but insists good personal hygiene, particularly hand washing, was one of the best lines of defence.
"No one should go around wearing and wasting face masks, please," Professor Murphy said.
The Tourism and Transport Forum estimates the number of foreign travellers visiting Australia between January and June 2020 will be down 40 per cent on the same period in 2019 and potentially cost $2 billion a month.
The ban on travellers from mainland China, which has been extended by another week, is already having a devastating effect on a small chain of Brisbane souvenir stores.
Tourist House Discount Souvenirs boss James Nasrawi pointed to the aisles of his Queens St Mall store, one of three that he owns, asking "Where are they (the customers)?"
He said sales were down almost 40 per cent. He is worried his business will suffer a second hit if supplies stop arriving from China and he runs out of stock for Christmas.
Australian Associated Press