| 21 April 2024, Sunday |

Taiwan urges no panic buying as new COVID-19 rules kick off

Taiwan called on people not to panic, as new curbs on the rally and the motion of COVID-19 became effective during a spike in domestic infections. Theirs was the panic of instant noodles and toilet papers.

On Saturday, Taiwan raised its alert level for coronaviruses in the capital, Taipei and its surroundings, imposing two week limitations which shut down numerous venues and limit gatherings.

Although total infections since the beginning of the pandemic remain low at 1,475, recent community transmissions have alarmed a populace that has become accustomed to life, which remains near normal, without any full lockdown.

In messages late on Saturday, the president, premier and economy ministry took to Facebook to say there was no need to hoard or rush to the shops, after people scrambled to stock up on basic goods, mainly instant noodles and toilet paper.

“After more than a year of preparation, the country’s anti-pandemic materials, civilian goods and raw materials are sufficient, and the stores are also operating as usual to replenish goods,” President Tsai Ing-wen said.

French supermarket chain Carrefour said it was limiting purchases of items such as masks and instant noodles in its Taiwan stores, asking people to buy only what they need.

The economy ministry showed pictures of warehouses piled to the ceiling with boxes of instant noodles, saying supplies were “like a mountain” with plenty of toilet paper and canned food to go round as well.

On his Facebook page, Premier Su Tseng-chang issued a similar request. It caused amusement early last year, when people said “only one butthole” during a previous toilet papers rush, and it was supposed to calm down.

Although the government does not order complete lock-downs, it urges people to stay as much as possible.

In order to strengthen the social media message, the health office brought out its dog mascot, a Shiba inu, called Zongchai.

“Study and stay at home Zongchai,” he said, showing the canine’s images sitting on the ground.

  • Reuters