Virus remedy rumor sends Tunisia garlic price soaring

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A costumer buys garlic bulbs at a central market in Tunis on March 12, 2020. The price of garlic has skyrocketed in recent days in Tunisia as consumers rush to buy it in the hope that its antimicrobial properties will help to protect against coronavirus. (AFP)
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Garlic bulbs are displayed at a central market in Tunis on March 12, 2020. The price of garlic has skyrocketed in recent days in Tunisia as consumers rush to buy it in the hope that its antimicrobial properties will help to protect against coronavirus.(AFP)
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A vendor sorts garlic bulbs at a central market in Tunis on March 12, 2020. The price of garlic has skyrocketed in recent days in Tunisia as consumers rush to buy it in the hope that its antimicrobial properties will help to protect against coronavirus. (AFP)
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Updated 12 March 2020

Virus remedy rumor sends Tunisia garlic price soaring

  • In Tunisia, the price of garlic has risen to around 20-25 dinars ($7-$8.85) a kilo

TUNIS: The price of garlic has shot up in Tunisia amid a buying rush as consumers hope it will help protect against the new coronavirus, despite caution from the World Health Organization.
In Tunisia’s central market this week, and in supermarkets and other stores, the price of garlic has risen to around 20-25 dinars ($7-$8.85) a kilo, in a country where the average monthly salary is around 600 dinars.
“Before, I used to buy five kilos (of garlic) for eight dinars a kilo and would sell it for 12, but now I can’t buy it anymore because the price has gone up so much,” said Khames Nabli, a shopkeeper in the south of the capital.
Tunisia has registered six cases of the novel coronavirus, most in people who had been in Italy. A seventh person infected with the virus has returned to France.
Garlic is often used to help ward off the flu, whose symptoms can be similar to those of COVID-19.
But some online websites and online posts have incorrectly suggested the bulb can protect against the novel coronavirus, which the World Health Organization has declared a pandemic.
The WHO has sought to combat rumors about the virus, including the effect of garlic.
“Garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties,” the WHO website’s coronavirus “myth busters” page reads in several languages, including French and Arabic. “However, there is no evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from the new coronavirus.”
That hasn’t stopped people rushing to buy it in Tunisia.
“This unjustified rush has pushed up prices,” said Yasser Ben Khalifa, a commerce ministry official, citing difficulties in obtaining supplies on the world market.
“The prices at the moment should be around 12 or 13 dinars,” he told AFP, expecting a marked drop in prices at the start of the Tunisian harvest in April.

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Florida offers drive-through Botox to quarantined residents

Updated 04 June 2020

Florida offers drive-through Botox to quarantined residents

  • US state allowed a partial relaxing of restrictions imposed to slow the coronavirus pandemic
  • Elective medical procedures resume, including Botox injections and cosmetic surgery

MIAMI: Quarantined Florida residents worried about their laughter lines and crows’ feet need frown no longer — Botox is back, and it’s being offered at a drive-through.
On May 4, the US state allowed a partial relaxing of restrictions imposed to slow the coronavirus pandemic. That means certain elective medical procedures could resume, including Botox injections and cosmetic surgery.
Michael Salzhauer, a plastic surgeon known as ‘Dr. Miami’ who has also starred in a reality television show, has been conducting drive-through Botox injections in the garage of his building in the posh Miami neighborhood of Bal Harbor.
Salzhauer said the idea struck him as he was sitting in his car waiting for a blood test for COVID-19 antibodies.
“The areas that we inject Botox are the upper face, exactly the parts of the face that aren’t covered by the mask so it’s really ideal,” Salzhauer said, while wearing a mask, face shield and surgical gown as he waited for his next drive-up patient.
Patients sign up online, paying an average of $600 each for a stippling of shots across their foreheads.
Arman Ohevshalom, 36, was enthusiastic as he waited in line with his wife in their car, although it was their first time receiving the injections.
“It’s very creative, and after seeing how they’re running it I feel just as comfortable as I would in the office,” he said.
Florida’s tattoo artists, however, are frustrated. Shuttered since March, they asking why they cannot open, too.
Botox injections are “kind of like tattooing, he’s injecting stuff into the skin,” said tattoo shop owner Chico Cortez. Florida is home to about 10,000 working tattoo artists, according to the Florida Professional Tattoo Artist Guild.
An emailed statement from a Miami-Dade County spokesperson said Mayor Carlos Gimenez has yet to set a date for reopening tattoo shops. “He is working with industry members and the medical experts to come up with the best way to reopen safely,” it said.