Coronavirus: Do not hoard items unnecessarily as it will create ‘undue panic’ – Chan Chun Sing

Empty shelves at FairPrice Bukit Timah on 7 February 2020. (PHOTO: Philip Lim)

SINGAPORE — Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing has urged Singaporeans not to hoard items unnecessarily as it will cause “undue panic”. 

His comments came hours after Singapore raised the disease outbreak response level to “orange” on Friday (7 February) amid a rise in the number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus.

Chan noted in a Facebook post that there have been reports of people buying up food and household items at supermarkets, resulting in temporary empty shelves in the supermarkets.

Netizens have been sharing photos of empty shelves at various supermarkets and stores, and also shoppers with trolleys brimming with household items in the past few hours following the announcement of the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (Dorscon) level.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry is in close contact with the retailers regarding the situation, said Chan. 

“I assure all Singaporeans that there is no need to rush for essential supplies like rice or instant noodles. Our supply lines for these essentials are intact and there is no risk of us running a shortage of essential food or household items,” he added. 

He urged Singaporeans to remain calm and collected, adding that the Government is monitoring the situation closely and will make sure that the needs of Singaporeans are met.

Under the “orange” level of Dorscon, a disease is considered to be severe and spreads easily from person to person, but the disease has not spread widely in Singapore and is contained. 

The authorities have unveiled several additional precautionary measures to minimise the risk of further transmission across Singapore, targeting large-scale events, workplaces, schools, hospitals and vulnerable groups.

In a separate post on Facebook, NTUC FairPrice CEO Seah Kian Peng said that the supermarket chain has seen a “surge and some panic buying” at many FairPrice stores and its online platform. 

“We have stocks and they are being replenished from our warehouse but if everyone starts to buy a lot more than what they need, there will never be enough.”

Seah, who is also the Marine Parade GRC MP, urged people to stay calm and give FairPrice time to replenish the items.

(INFOGRAPHIC: Yahoo News Singapore)