Many Singaporeans had come forward to thank the cashiers and supermarket staff constantly working behind the scenes to restock the empty shelves, Mr Chan noted. By Kate Gibson Updated on: November 18, 2020 / 5:06 PM / MoneyWatch … “We all want to do something to make ourselves feel better,” she quipped. Why People Are Panic Buying as Coronavirus Spreads Umberto Sanchez and Maria Hernandez from El Salvador, who live in Burbank, Calif., stock up … That could explain why stacks of toilet paper were snapped up by Singaporeans during the panic buying. While Singaporeans have earned a reputation for being kiasu (Hokkien for the fear of missing out), it was a scene that no one has witnessed here before - not even during the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) crisis in 2003 or the H1N1 pandemic in 2009. “This meant that people were no longer reacting to rumours that essentials might run out, but this new development itself,” she said. SINGAPORE (Feb 7): Singapore on Friday raised its coronavirus alert level and reported more cases not linked to previous infections or travel to China, a move that sparked panic-buying of essentials in some shops across the island. "What if bulk buyers think they can't get wheat or rice shipments in May or June? Still, despite the panic buying grabbing the headlines, Mr Chan and other government leaders took pains to point out that a large majority of Singaporeans had been “calm and rational”. Communications experts said the panic-buying in Singapore might have been avoided if the information disseminated by the authorities had been clearer. However, he was uncertain if an address by Mr Lee to the public at an earlier juncture would have helped. “For the next 12 hours, the shelves remain empty (in their minds),” she said. Instead, they introduced the boys to home-based activities which could involve the entire family, such as arts and craft, reading and even playing Xbox console games. A taxi driver, who wanted to be known as Mr Ahmad, said he is not scared and has no qualms about picking up healthcare workers. France's grain industry is scrambling to find enough trucks and staff to keep factories and ports running as the panic buying of pasta and flour coincides with a surge in wheat exports. So visually, it lights up all your flags.”. READ: Commentary: What to do with all these health rumours and forwarded messages in the time of COVID-19? Panic Buying: A type of behavior marked by a rapid increase in purchase volume as the price of a good or security increases. The COVID-19 pandemic in Singapore is part of the worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).The first case in Singapore was confirmed on 23 January. There was a queue that wound around the inside of the store,” said Mr Tay, who ended up having to wait for more than 30 minutes to pay for his purchases. Thu, Feb 20, 2020 - 5:50 AM. Instead, he said that the authorities should have foreseen the responses from the public as part of proper scenario planning with “ready-to-go action plans”. Panic buying is the true spirit of Christmas There’s nothing more likely to start a shopper stampede than someone telling us we won’t run short of what we need Hugo Rifkind “Research suggests that when people are in panic, the thinking part of our brain gets hijacked by the emotional system and we start to act illogically,” said a spokesperson for the Singapore Psychological Society (SPS) council. Background: Panic buying is an erratic human behavior that has been reported irregularly and episodically. Number 10 urged people to stop panic buying as shoppers queued outside supermarkets from 5.50am amid fears that France's ban on British lorries … "There is about 140 million tonnes of corn that goes in ethanol in the United States and some of that can used for food as it won't be needed for fuel, given the drop in oil prices,"said Ole Houe, director of advisory services at brokerage Ikon Commodities "The concern is having food at the right time in the right place.". While many like Mr Tay understood the constraints and logistical challenges involved, as far as they are concerned, the takeaway was that they had great difficulty getting masks from retailers and ultimately, had to rely on a limited number given out by the Government. Consumers across the world from Singapore to the United States have queued at supermarkets in recent weeks to stock up on items ranging from rice and hand sanitisers to toilet paper. “In this particular case, all the media information is likely to have induced strong emotive elements which were managed by some population segments by embracing these forms of rational or irrational, but culturally symbolic, behaviours,” said Prof Lwin. But something caught his attention while he was mindlessly thumbing through his phone in the train around 9pm on Friday a week ago: Images of shoppers making a mad dash for groceries at supermarkets across the island. As a result, some Malaysians are panic buying at Tescos and Giants as they fear the lockdown will affect supplies. Scenes of panic-buying return to Kuala Lumpur and Selangor this week as they enter a second COVID-19 lockdown amid new waves of infections. By broadcasting live on the social media platform, customers were given the chance to ask questions and interact with the company’s salesperson in real time as he gave demonstrations of the company’s various zip-blind products. Although his wife worries for him, as there is no way of knowing whether a passenger might be infected with the virus, the 56-year-old CityCab driver said he still has to continue driving to support his family. Read 3 articles daily and stand to win ST rewards, including the ST News Tablet worth $398. The global benchmark Chicago wheat futures rose more than 6 per cent this week, the biggest weekly gain in nine months, while rice prices in Thailand , the world's 2nd largest exporter of the grain, have climbed to the highest since August 2013. Previously, the risk assessment level was at Yellow, signifying that the virus was severe and could infect from person to person, but was chiefly occurring outside Singapore. Waves of panic buying triggered by the rapid global spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) are a mass psychological phenomenon worth pondering. Logistics are likely to be a major global issue, analysts said. For one, there is no risk of Singapore running short of essential food and household items like toilet paper from short-term disruptions, such as the COVID-19 outbreak, said Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli. How ready is Singapore? All rights reserved. Mr Chan, the Trade and Industry Minister, had spoken out against panic buying and hoarding behaviour by a “small segment of Singaporeans”, even though he noted that this was to be expected. Now Orange. Up till this incident, Prof Straughan felt that the Government had been doing well in being upfront with Singaporeans about the virus situation. Irrespective of cultures and national borders, each stage of the epidemic’s escalation has quickly resulted in the affected population raiding shops. "There will be less capacity to take policy actions to boost economies.". What it is going to look like in June or July?" “It was crazy that day. Mediacorp Pte Ltd. All rights reserved. Asian wheat importers, including the region's top importer Indonesia, have been taking a bulk of the cargoes from the Black Sea region amid a global oversupply. While the panic buying in Hong Kong mirrors what happened in Singapore, the similarity ends there. The food security strategy aims to meet 30 per cent of the country’s nutritional needs by 2030 using less than 1 per cent of its land area. Red is bad, everybody knows that right? When she was first assigned to handle suspected COVID-19 cases, Sharmaine said she was scared as no one knew what exactly they were dealing with. This service is not intended for persons residing in the EU. “Maybe through these tough times, we can develop some new good habits for the family that will stay with us even after the threat is over.”. In other words, some segments of the population “may undertake actions based around daily priorities to respond to their perceptions of the threat”, said the health communications expert. READ: Commentary: COVID-19 the new national test for Singapore. Still, some like Dr Paul Tambyah felt it was understandable why these shoppers behaved the way they did. So far, apart from Singapore, there have been no reports of panic buying in places outside of China. "Net oil exporters' capacity to buy grains has dropped given the fall in oil prices and depreciation in currencies," said FAO's Mr Abbassian. Some businesses have had to adjust their operating models due to the outbreak. But this time, it’s a tad rational. Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Professor May Oo Lwin, whose research interest at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information (WKWSCI) includes strategic and health communications, said it is likely that the public was responding to certain levels of fear and stress that the deluge of messages had aroused. "Restaurant business is down, and as a result demand is a bit soft right now.". SPH Digital News / Copyright © 2020 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co. Regn. Away from the public spotlight and media glare, ordinary Singaporeans have got on with their lives, despite the disruptions and worries brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak. Such contradictory information would have led some to question if the authorities were trying to hide something, she said. Siglap Shopping Centre collective sale to carry S$120m reserve price. ‘The shelves were empty of rice, pasta, beans of all kinds, lentils and loo roll. In another unpleasant flashback to the pandemic’s early days of panic buying and hoarding, some stores have reinstated purchase limits on hard-to-get items. And this fear can breed distrust and hostility towards others. Waves of panic buying triggered by the rapid global spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) are a mass psychological phenomenon worth pondering. Mr Wilson Chew, the founder and managing director of the company, said: “During this time of crisis when people may be worried about attending events with crowds, we thought of using Facebook Live.”. Ultimately, the hoarding behaviour was “a fight-or-flight response that has arisen primarily from fear and a need for self-preservation”, said the SPS council spokesperson. Feb 07, 2020. READ: Coronavirus outbreak: Singapore raises DORSCON level to Orange; schools to suspend inter-school, external activities, READ: No need to rush for supplies, says Chan Chun Sing, amid reports of surge in demand, READ: COVID-19: Supply chain remains robust, 'panic buying' situation has stabilised, says Lawrence Wong, READ: Commentary: Singaporeans queued for toilet paper and instant noodles – there is no shame in that, READ: Commentary: Fighting fear is key part in battling COVID-19. The DORSCON level was raised after several COVID-19 cases were detected in the Republic without any links to previous cases or travel histories to China. Mr Lars Voedisch, the managing director of public relations firm PRecious Communications, said that such behaviour is triggered by one or two initial incidents which then get amplified by social media. “So far, even my friends (who are also taxi drivers) have all been continuing to work as per normal,” said Mr Ahmad. Prof Straughan agreed, noting that the definition of DORSCON Orange was not explained enough as well. While Mr Tay and his mother had joined the hordes of shoppers at the supermarkets, their purchase was relatively measured compared to the others: Pictures of shoppers with overflowing trolleys went viral, along with photographs and videos of empty vegetable and fruit baskets, and chillers devoid of meat. There is a dearth of studies exploring the identifiable factors accounting for it. Hong Kong has also been hit by a wave of panic-buying in recent days as it seeks to battle the virus, with supermarket shelves frequently emptied of crucial goods. The virus outbreak, he added, had drastically affected his earnings lately, though he declined to reveal by how much. “Under circumstances like these, people feel the need to do something that’s proportionate to … “Our ability to decide on our own is minimised.”. Now I don't feel so scared anymore.”. “As far as I know, when a quarantine officer comes to put a person on quarantine, they do not let you go shopping at the supermarket first,” he said. SINGAPORE: Anxious Singapore shoppers formed long lines at grocery stores Saturday and cleared the shelves of essential items, after the city-state raised its alert level over China's coronavirus outbreak. Green is good. To that end, they could have used dialect or Singlish to reach out more effectively, he noted. “While authorities should not get emotional when communicating, they have to be empathetic appealing to the hearts and minds of the audience,” said Mr Voedisch. His mother had planned to do her weekly grocery run on Saturday but he told her to do it that night as he “wasn’t sure if there would be anything left for her to buy in the morning at the rate people were wiping out the shelves”. “Anyway, if there’s no emergency, we’ll just take it as having done a few days’ worth of shopping beforehand,” he said. Andy J Yap. Shelves of ready noodles in Singapore were left empty after fear led people to panic buy. “Which is: The shelves are empty. Shoppers … “However I urge all of us to think of the larger communities we belong to. People in S’pore Panic Buy & Wipe Out Items in Shelves After Announcement of new DORSCON Level. Okay, I’ll be the first to admit: the first panic-buying in Singapore, which stemmed from the change of the DORSCON level from yellow to Orange, didn’t sound rational to me. Datuk Rosol Wahid speaks to the media in Melaka July 12, 2020. ... even as Singapore experienced waves of panic buying … SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore on Friday raised its coronavirus alert level and reported more cases not linked to previous infections or travel to China, a move that sparked panic-buying of essentials in some shops across the island. Share gift link below with your friends and family. “Most nurses are worried too, but it’s our job and this is what we do for a living,” said the nurse, who wanted to be known only as Sharmaine due to the sensitivity of her role. SINGAPORE (REUTERS) - Lockdowns and panic food buying due to the coronavirus pandemic could ignite world food inflation even though there are ample supplies of staple grains and oilseeds in key exporting nations, a senior FAO economist and agricultural analysts said. As a result, the Government decided to distribute the masks from its stockpile directly to families, capped at four masks per household. When I got home, I told my parents about it,” Mr Tay, 31, said. After a brief period of panic-buying in Singapore earlier this month amid the coronavirus outbreak, more people are said to be going online to purchase groceries and other items. Some experts believe that events in Hong Kong, which was gripped by scenes of panic buying recently, had influenced Singaporeans’ behaviour. Flow of goods, cargo, and food supplies between Singapore and Malaysia will continue. However, as experts pointed out, rationality and logic get cast aside when panic sets in. Asian buyers were inactive this week with uncertainty looming in the market. “Some people didn’t know what it meant. “The problem with the … “In this case, our brains focus more on the fear generated rather than on the reassurance given,” said the spokesperson. Sign up for the ST Asian Insider newsletter to get exclusive insights into Asia from our network of overseas correspondents. In fact, Mr Tay was still in the queue when he read Mr Chan’s Facebook post but he went on to complete his purchases. This, he said, was an effective way of reaching out to the public, and many people still remember it today. said one Singapore-based purchasing manager at a flour milling company that has operations across South-east Asia. Mr Wong said the fear over paper shortage had spread to other goods in Hong Kong. Agreeing with Mr Voedisch’s observation about social media, Prof Straughan reiterated that while technology has helped to disseminate information a lot faster, it has similarly allowed misinformation to spread just as quickly as well. Mr Voedisch of PRecious Communications said having the Prime Minister step in to address the public helped, because it went beyond technocratic statements and directly addressed what people were concerned with. Professor Straughan, whose research interests include medical sociology that encompasses infectious diseases, said it did not help that the public was seeing these images circulated on social media late in the night. Panic Buying, Lockdowns May Drive World Food Inflation Monday, 23 March, 2020 - 07:15 A woman looks at an empty shelf with a sign announcing the rationing of toilet paper to one pack per person at a Rewe grocery store in Potsdam, Germany, March 20, 2020, as the spread of the coronavirus disease continues. As a result, these became the abiding images for many Singaporeans overnight. I’ve never seen so many people inside before, and at such a late hour. “With the virus outbreak becoming more severe, we have now decided to take the extra measure of bringing the art to our clients directly,” she said. But he stressed: “We have to keep Singapore going and we have to keep making a living. Restrictions imposed by some European Union countries at their borders with other member states in response to the pandemic are also disrupting food supplies, representatives of the industry and farmers said. Panic-buying scenarios played out in supermarkets and pharmacies, following the raised risk assessment of COVID-19 to Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) Orange, and they surfaced again when Malaysia announced the closure of its borders. Coronavirus: FairPrice chief urges calm amid panic-buying of groceries; Singapore's food security unlikely to be affected. Residents in Thailand for example said the situation was calm and there has been no run on daily essentials. He said his actions were partly shaped by the mask situation. Mr Wong Bai Chun, a Hong Kong citizen, said that two weeks ago, there was a brief but acute shortage of toilet paper and other paper goods in the territory, which was sparked by an Internet rumour that the Chinese spring holiday was being extended and there would be insufficient supplies of such products. Furthermore, whenever there is a life-threatening epidemic or emergency, the notions of safety, protection, and self-preservation usually come into play. The country has managed to be resilient due to astute planning by the nation’s food agencies and its well-connected transport network, he said on Feb 10 during the launch of the 2020 Singapore Food Story. Malaysia’s sudden announcement of a lockdown comes after a huge surge in Covid-19 cases. “But over time, I grew immune to it, even if a patient were to test positive for the virus. READ: PM Lee urges Singapore to take courage amid coronavirus outbreak, see through stressful time together, READ: Commentary: China in a coronavirus lockdown – life is normal but not really. The images of empty shelves circulating on social media played a big part, said Singapore Management University sociologist Paulin Straughan. By registering, you agree to our T&C and Privacy Policy. "We are not sure about the demand. One shopper, who declined to be identified, told MailOnline: ‘There was panic buying here on Saturday. Rush on stores - panic buying or exerting control? This article is now fully available for you, Please verify your e-mail to read this subscriber-only article in full. At the same time, it has reiterated that there is no need for people to wear a mask if they are well and it is more important to practise good personal hygiene such as washing hands. Asst Prof Liew pointed out while the message from the authorities was accurate, it did not cater to the layman. The world's richest nations poured unprecedented aid into the global economy as coronavirus cases ballooned across Europe and the United States, with the number of deaths in Italy outstripping those in mainland China, where the virus originated. All they saw was the visual,” said Prof Straughan. Manchester United should only enter the January transfer market if “the right player” becomes available, says Gary Neville, with the Red Devils warned off “panic” buys in a tricky window. You have reached your limit of subscriber-only articles this month. His 72-year-old mother, who helped carry two bags’ worth of toilet paper, told him that she could not remember Singaporeans panicking like this. In Singapore, for example, social media was flooded with images of empty store shelves and people buying large quantities of paper goods, rice and instant noodles after the city-state raised its alert level from yellow to orange, reflecting a heightened virus risk. Okay, I’ll be the first to admit: the first panic-buying in Singapore, which stemmed from the change of the DORSCON level from yellow to Orange, didn’t sound rational to me. Panic buying helps people feel in control of the situation, experts say. Unlike Macau or mainland China, there are no regulations in Hong Kong to curb such behaviours, he added. Stores see more panic buying as new coronavirus shutdowns loom. To allay public anxiety, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made a speech a day after the panic buying, assuring Singaporeans that there was no need to panic as the city was not being locked down, and there was ample supply of food for everyone. Prof Straughan had another theory: They were relatively cheap and easy to hoard. SINGAPORE (Reuters) - When a rare moment of panic buying shook Singapore's highly ordered society over fears about the spread of coronavirus, it took a … World rice stocks are projected at 182.3 million tonnes as compared with 175.3 million tonnes a year ago. And even if supplies are in no danger of running out, Mr Tay argued that it would not hurt to be prepared. “I think the best we can do right now is to stay positive. With panic-buying gripping shoppers, Walmart, the nation's largest retailer by sales, announced this week that it has given store managers the "discretion to … 198402868E. Hong Kong has also been hit by a wave of panic-buying in recent days as it seeks to battle the virus, with supermarket shelves frequently emptied of crucial goods. As of 16 Mar, our neighbours’ toll stands at 553. One potential consequence, he warned, is that suppliers and retailers who observe the panic buying might take advantage of the situation and jack up prices of goods. Why People Are Panic Buying as Coronavirus Spreads Umberto Sanchez and Maria Hernandez from El Salvador, who live in Burbank, Calif., stock up … “Our brains are hardwired to register negative stimuli more readily and also to dwell and worry on them for a longer period of time,” the spokesperson said. He said the panic buying and hoarding of daily essentials in Hong Kong stemmed from the shortage of disposable masks. PANIC-BUYING Brits have snatched Yorkshire puddings out of trolleys as shoppers began queuing at 6am today amid fears of a food shortage. Panic buying has emerged as reliable a feature of the coronavirus epidemic as a fever or dry cough. However, she feels disappointed at the discrimination against healthcare workers shown by some Singaporeans, even as many others expressed gratitude for their work. ... How has Covid-19 hit Singapore's less well-off? “And that’s 12 hours of festering, and it entrenches (the fear that there are no supplies).”. The mother and son then headed to their neighbourhood’s mini-mart in Choa Chu Kang. Countless others have also stepped in to do their part for their fellow citizens, with numerous ground-up initiatives started in the community. “When the DORSCON Orange was finally announced, it became a trigger tantamount to saying ‘the coronavirus has arrived’, resulting in the accompanying hoarding behaviour as response,” the spokesperson said. “There are four levels. But this time, it’s a … People queue for a delivery of toilet paper, paper towel and pasta at a Coles supermarket in Sydney, Australia, on March 20, 2020. Singapore raised its alert level amid a growing number of virus cases in citizens with no recent travel history to mainland China and no known links to previous infections. No. Copyright© Mediacorp 2020. It is closer to Red than it is to Green. “Much of the Government’s message involved military terms (and) colour codes.". In a Facebook post on Feb 8, he noted that it was “natural” in times of uncertainty that people want to protect ourselves and the ones that they love. Such messages, she said, needed to be concurrently countered with provision of strategies for coping with perceived threats.
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