No lesson learned: Singapore responds to COVID restrictions with immediate panic-buying (Photos)

Crowd at an NTUC Fairprice outlet. Photo: Salientlife93/Reddit
Crowd at an NTUC Fairprice outlet. Photo: Salientlife93/Reddit

Singaporeans rushed to supermarkets to stock up on essentials as soon as tighter COVID-19 restrictions were announced today.

Long queues quickly formed at various supermarkets following the announcement of the latest measures, according to photos spreading online. 

Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing and Fairprice supermarket CEO Seah Kian Peng responded to the chaos by basically telling everyone to calm down. 

“While F&B establishments may be closed for dine-in services, takeaways and deliveries are still allowed and there is no need to rush to buy groceries or other essentials,” Chan wrote online today. “Let us continue to remember to buy only what we need and look out for the more vulnerable among us,” Chan wrote.

Seah repeated his advice from last year, when panic buying fever took over Singapore after the disease alert level was raised in March.

“So repeating our earlier messages at [the] onset of dorscon Orange : no need to rush & buy what u need; our stores will always remain open. More importantly take care and stay safe,” Seah said, noting that the supermarket chain was “seeing more traffic and bigger purchases” at both their physical and online stores since noon. 

People were seen crowding multiple supermarkets to check out trolleys and baskets filled with food and essentials like, you guessed it, toilet paper rolls.

“The panic buying starts again! Haiss…..why!?” Facebook user Sunny Pang wrote today, sharing a video of grocery shoppers queuing at counters. 

Other photos and videos also showed people trying to keep a distance from one another.

Among the rules kicking off Sunday are a two-person limit on gatherings and a ban on dining out. 

They were announced today amid a new wave of infections largely affecting Changi Airport and Tan Tock Seng Hospital, causing Singapore stocks to fall by 3%. Sheng Siong supermarket shares, however, jumped by 11%.  

Singapore added 52 new cases to its daily COVID-19 count today, made up of 24 locally transmitted cases and 28 from abroad. Thirteen of the local cases came from Changi Airport.

Other stories you should check out:

Singapore cuts social gatherings to two, bans dining out
COVID-19: Singapore’s largest outbreak now taking off at Changi Airport
Only two more weeks to leave a mess at the table, Singapore. After that, it’s S$300
Miss Universe Singapore takes ‘Stop Asian Hate’ to pageant runway

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