Taiwan: Unprecedented Coronavirus Lockdown Triggers Panic Buying

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen prompted people in Taiwan not to hoard food and masks on Saturday after a recent Chinese coronavirus lockdown order in Taipei and its surrounding location caused residents to stress buy standard home supplies.

Taiwan’s government raised its four-tier coronavirus alert system to a level three for the first time on May 15, releasing partial lockdown orders for its capital, Taipei, and the surrounding New Taipei City in action to a current rise in new everyday Chinese coronavirus cases in the area. The order sparked a panic purchasing frenzy in the capital area on Saturday, as homeowners rushed to stockpile on necessary products. Photos circulated on social media of Taipei grocery stores with empty shelves and long lines of customers.

“Taiwan has seen long queues in retailers and supermarkets given that twelve noon,” Focus Taiwan reported on May 15. The panic buying forced Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs to provide an order on Saturday restricting the number of products Taiwanese were enabled to buy in one shopping journey.

“Each consumer can just buy up to two products in the categories of toilet tissue, immediate noodles, rice and canned food, respectively,” the ministry said in a statement.

“Taiwanese swooped up toilet tissue, anti-bacterial laundry detergent, dishwashing detergent, alcohol-based disinfectant, surgical masks, meat, fresh fruit and vegetables, and immediate noodles,” Taiwan News reported on May 13, when Taipei homeowners first learned that the government’s level three alert order loomed.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen advised people in Taiwan to avoid hoarding “masks, food, and bathroom tissue,” in a statement posted to her official Facebook page on Might 15.

“Panic buying at grocery stores would just increase the threat of COVID [Chinese coronavirus] clusters,” the president wrote, according to Taiwan News.

Taiwan’s level three coronavirus alert order requires individuals to use masks at all times during public activities. It restricts indoor gatherings to 5 people and outside gatherings to 10.

“A broad spectrum of business and public places are to be closed [according to the order], with the exception of necessary services, police departments, healthcare facilities, and federal government structures,” Taiwan News reported.

Taiwan Health Minister Chen Shih-chung revealed even more virus-prevention procedures– in addition to the level three alert– on Might 16 for Taipei and New Taipei, consisting of “remote learning for some school years, and standards for health centers to focus on symptomatic Covid [Chinese coronavirus] cases, saying dedicated beds were beginning to fill.”

Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) held an emergency situation press conference on Might 15 to announce 180 brand-new, in your area transmitted cases of the Chinese coronavirus in the nation, which was “the biggest number of domestic infections reported in one day since the start of the pandemic in Taiwan,” according to Taiwan News. The majority of the brand-new cases were documented in Taipei (89) and New Taipei City (75 ).

“Taiwan reported 206 new local cases of the Chinese coronavirus May 16, “breaking the previous day’s record high of 180,” the U.K. paper the Guardian reported.

Health specialists warned the general public that Taiwan’s sharp rise in Chinese coronavirus case numbers on Sunday was “most likely partly a result of mass testing drives over the weekend,” the paper noted.

New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi revealed on May 17 that preparations were currently underway in the city “to raise the COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] alert to Level 4, after 333 new local COVID-19 cases were reported on Monday (May 17),” Taiwan News reported.

Taiwan’s level four coronavirus alert order mandates the following, according to the Taiwan CECC:

Individuals can only leave house for important activities and need to wear a mask and preserve a social distance at all times.Even when at
home, masking and social distancing must be practiced.

All public events canceled, with the exception of essential services such as police, medical and government services.

All in-person school and work activities suspended.

Lockdowns will be enforced in counties, cities, or municipalities where a break out has actually ended up being extreme. Only designated individuals might get in or leave these lockdown zones, and homeowners should remain in their homes.

“The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday (May 15) stated there would just be [level 4-style] lockdowns if there were at least 100 new infections each day for 14 consecutive days,” Taiwan News kept in mind on Monday.

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