The Centre on Saturday capped the maximum retail price of hand sanitisers at Rs 100 per 200 ml bottle till June 30 due to the coronavirus pandemic, PTI reported. Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said the price of a two-ply surgical mask has been capped at Rs 8 and that of a three-ply surgical mask at Rs 10.

The National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority of India tweeted a press release by the government, which said that the order would come into force from Saturday.

The price of melt brown non-woven fabric used in manufacturing masks shall not be more than the prices prevailing on the day one month prior to March 13, that is, the prices prevailing on February 12.

“The price cap has been imposed taking into account the sharp increase in prices of raw materials used in making of face masks and hand sanitiser,” Paswan said. Earlier this month, the Centre had declared sanitisers and masks “essential commodities”. On March 19, it placed limits on the alcohol used in making these sanitisers.

The number of COVID-19 infections in India has risen from 173 on Thursday night to 271 on Saturday morning. On Friday, the government had confirmed 63 new patients, the biggest single-day spike so far.

Maharashtra remains the worst-hit state, with at least 63 patients so far, one of whom has died. A woman from Pune in her early 40s, who had no history of travel abroad, has tested positive for COVID-19.