COVID-19: More than 3 months' worth of stockpile in rice, noodles, says Chan Chun Sing

Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing speaking at the Multi-Ministry press conference on Monday (27 January). (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)
Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing. (FILE PHOTO: Dhany Osman/ Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — Singapore has “more than three months’ worth” of stockpile in essential carbohydrates needs such as rice and noodles, as well as “more than two months’ worth of supplies in meat and vegetables.

This was revealed by Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing on Tuesday (17 March), as neighbouring Malaysia announced a lockdown from Wednesday to 31 March amid the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

Strategy combining stockpiling and local production

In a Facebook post, Chan said that Singapore is using a strategy of combining stockpiling and local production, in order to buy time to bring in alternative supplies should the usual supply lines be disrupted.

“For carbohydrates, like rice and noodles, we have more than three months’ worth of stockpile at the national level,” he wrote.

“For proteins like meat, and vegetables, we use a combination of fresh, frozen and canned options to meet our demand and we have more than two months’ worth of supplies at normal consumption patterns.

“As for eggs, we have our local production and we are also activating air freight options to substitute the Malaysian supplies should they be disrupted.”

Disruption of supplies a scenario planned for many years

Chan said that a disruption of supplies from Malaysia is “a contingency scenario we have planned for many years”. He added that Singapore has put in place robust plans to manage this scenario and will continue to review its strategies to ensure that Singaporeans “never run out” of food or essential supplies.

“While we may have to make some adjustments to our choices in the short term, we have sufficient food supplies for all Singaporeans, as long as all of us buy responsibly,” he added.

Drastic lockdown in Malaysia

On Monday, Malaysia prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced a two-week lockdown of the country to slow the spread of the coronavirus, following a sharp spike in the number of cases.

All religious institutions, schools, businesses and government offices will be shut, all mass gatherings will be banned and only essential services including supermarkets, banks, gas stations and pharmacies will be allowed to remain open.

The country recorded 315 new cases of the virus on Sunday and Monday, causing its total to surge to 553, the highest number in Southeast Asia.

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