Prof Straughan agreed, noting that the definition of DORSCON Orange was not explained enough as well. 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. Panic buying has emerged as reliable a feature of the coronavirus epidemic as a fever or dry cough. During the SARS outbreak in 2003, local sitcom character Phua Chu Kang was used to educate Singaporeans on the importance of washing their hands. But this time, it’s a tad rational. A 23-year-old outbreak nurse who works with COVID-19 patients said that while her family understands the risks of her occupation, it does not stop them from worrying. 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. Asia / Southeast Asia Coronavirus: Singapore urges calm after panic buying hits supermarkets amid outbreak fears Widespread stocking up … 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. Malaysia’s sudden announcement of a lockdown comes after a huge surge in Covid-19 cases. They can read the article in full after signing up for a free account. 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. We have been experiencing some problems with subscriber log-ins and apologise for the inconvenience caused. 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. She said it did not help that recipients of the leaked document were initially told by others that it was fake news, only to be informed by the authorities a few hours later that it was indeed true. 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. 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. The SPS council spokesperson said Mr Lee’s message gave people very concrete actions that “handed back a measure of control to people whose sense of control felt threatened”. This is an opportunity to bond with the kids, work on some home improvement tasks and plan for the year ahead,” Mr Chiam said. A leaked MOH press release a few hours before the official DORSCON Orange announcement, which left many befuddled, might have also fuelled the public panic. 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. “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. 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. Noting that Singapore, along with the rest of the world, would have to deal with the outbreak for the next several months, Dr Tambyah – who is president of the Asia-Pacific Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infection – noted that in such a situation, it was practical to keep some essential supplies on standby in case one has to be put on quarantine, for instance. When I got home, I told my parents about it,” Mr Tay, 31, said. “I was shocked by what I saw on my phone. 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. We feel ostracised at times because all we want to do is perform our job and go home,” she said. It is closer to Red than it is to Green. Some businesses have had to adjust their operating models due to the outbreak. 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. Share gift link below with your friends and family. “With a constant overemphasis on fear, people may start to behave in less caring or more complacent ways in order to maintain self-preservation,” the spokesperson added. Communications experts said the panic-buying in Singapore might have been avoided if the information disseminated by the authorities had been clearer. However, global wheat stocks at the end of the crop marketing year in June are projected to rise to 287.14 million tonnes, up from 277.57 million tonnes a year ago, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates. Orange refers to a situation in which a virus is spreading in Singapore but not widely, and is being contained. SINGAPORE: Tired and hungry after a long day at work, Mr Derrick Tay was looking forward to returning home for a warm shower, having something to eat and watching Netflix in bed. Or as NTU’s Asst Prof Liew put it: “We must have a courageous sense of normality and go on living life normally.”, Indeed, Prime Minister Lee noted on Friday that the COVID-19 outbreak is expected to last longer than SARS, with a greater impact already hitting the economy. “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. 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. PANIC-BUYING Brits have snatched Yorkshire puddings out of trolleys as shoppers began queuing at 6am today amid fears of a food shortage. "All you need is panic buying from big importers such as millers or governments to create a crisis," said Mr Abdolreza Abbassian, chief economist at the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Residents in Thailand for example said the situation was calm and there has been no run on daily essentials. As a result, the Government decided to distribute the masks from its stockpile directly to families, capped at four masks per household. The gift link for this subscriber-only article has expired. 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. 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. READ: Commentary: The biggest work-from-home exercise may have just begun. Still, some like Dr Paul Tambyah felt it was understandable why these shoppers behaved the way they did. Prof Yaacob was one of several MPs who commented on the panic buying behaviour on the Feb 7 to Feb 9 weekend, after Singapore's Disease Outbreak … Such contradictory information would have led some to question if the authorities were trying to hide something, she said. Panic Buying: A type of behavior marked by a rapid increase in purchase volume as the price of a good or security increases. Rush on stores - panic buying or exerting control? 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. Datuk Rosol Wahid speaks to the media in Melaka July 12, 2020. And I head home, like a good Hong Konger, to wash my hands. 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. Shoppers … Countless others have also stepped in to do their part for their fellow citizens, with numerous ground-up initiatives started in the community. The images of empty shelves circulating on social media played a big part, said Singapore Management University sociologist Paulin Straughan. The Government had made clear that it has a stockpile of masks but this did not prevent long queues or stocks running out at shops and pharmacies. 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. “I think the best we can do right now is to stay positive. For example, in extreme cases of crisis like an earthquake, people could be seen taking their television sets while evacuating, she noted. HULU TERENGGANU, Dec 13 — The people do not have to carry out panic buying of goods despite reports claiming that the number of Covid-19 transmissions in Malaysia is expected to be more serious next year. 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 … 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. “Which is: The shelves are empty. “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. However, she feels disappointed at the discrimination against healthcare workers shown by some Singaporeans, even as many others expressed gratitude for their work. “Some people didn’t know what it meant. The demand is being "driven by panic buying, stockpiling and speculation," World Health Organisation spokesman Fadela Chaib said. 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. All they saw was the visual,” said Prof Straughan. “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. By Kate Gibson Updated on: November 18, 2020 / 5:06 PM / MoneyWatch … The authorities have yet to announce the source of the leak, but Trade and Industry Minister Chan said on Feb 9 that the various agencies involved in tackling the virus will remind their staff that they have a professional responsibility not to prematurely share information that has not been finalised. Cleaners, for example, are putting in longer hours while healthcare workers not only have to work longer each day but are also putting themselves at risk on the frontlines. Audrey Tan. What happened was that the Government had released five million masks to retailers over nine days last month but these were sold out within hours. The press release was circulated on social media and through messaging platforms such as WhatsApp. "It is not a supply issue, but it is a behavioural change over food security," he told Reuters by phone from Rome, the FAO headquarters. Business owners like Ms Chong and Mr Chew are hoping that people would continue life as normal, albeit taking the necessary precautions. Read 3 articles daily and stand to win ST rewards, including the ST News Tablet worth $398. “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.”. Since emerging late last year, the virus has killed over 700 people and infected more than 34,000 in China, and spread to many other countries. The spokesperson also noted people also tend to follow others in the hope that the latter could get them out of a dangerous situation. 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. Now Orange. 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. 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. 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 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. Panic buying hits Singapore after virus alert raised Anxious Singapore shoppers formed long lines at grocery stores on Saturday and cleared the shelves of essential items, after the city-state raised Hoarding means that we deprive others of things that they really need,” he said. What it is going to look like in June or July?" Green, Yellow, Orange and Red. However, as experts pointed out, rationality and logic get cast aside when panic sets in. Feb 07, 2020. READ: Commentary: COVID-19 - when social media and chat groups complicate crisis communication, READ: What you need to know about additional precautionary measures under DORSCON Orange, LISTEN: Getting to grips with DORSCON orange in Singapore's fight against COVID-19, a Heart of the Matter podcast episode, READ: Commentary: Don’t forget the vulnerable in the fight against COVID-19, READ: 'We intend to stick it out with them': Volunteers write notes, send food to healthcare workers fighting COVID-19. How are we doing? In Singapore’s case, this could be a possible reason why people started to hoard or buy things impulsively if everyone else around them was doing the same, or if they were told to do so on social media platforms. — Bernama pic. Google, Temasek agree to invest US$350m in Indonesia's Tokopedia. “Under circumstances like these, people feel the need to do something that’s proportionate to … “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. ... even as Singapore experienced waves of panic buying … said one Singapore-based purchasing manager at a flour milling company that has operations across South-east Asia. "There will be less capacity to take policy actions to boost economies.". Coronavirus: FairPrice chief urges calm amid panic-buying of groceries; Singapore's food security unlikely to be affected. People queue for a delivery of toilet paper, paper towel and pasta at a Coles supermarket in Sydney, Australia, on March 20, 2020. Sign up for the ST Asian Insider newsletter to get exclusive insights into Asia from our network of overseas correspondents. Despite reassurances from Government leaders including Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing who took to Facebook to call for calm, Mr Tay and many Singaporeans were not entirely assured as the panic buying continued through the night. We aimed to identify the factors responsible for panic buying extracted from online media reports.Methods: We scrutinized the media reports published in English discussing the different aspects of panic buying. 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. And what does it say about Singaporeans, many of whom have stoically and quietly got on with their lives, despite the uncertainty and disruptions to daily life? “So far, even my friends (who are also taxi drivers) have all been continuing to work as per normal,” said Mr Ahmad. The majority of media reporting on panic buying was from the USA (40.7 %), UK (22 %), and India (13.6 %). 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. As of 16 Mar, our neighbours’ toll stands at 553. Although we are all experiencing similar things during the pandemic, Covid-19 has made most of us feel increasingly isolated from each other, and panic buying is a symptom of this. For 37-year-old father Lucas Chiam, he sought to turn the situation around by using it as an opportunity to spend more time with his two sons, aged six and four. 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. "We are not sure about the demand. 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. “The problem with the … ‘The shelves were empty of rice, pasta, beans of all kinds, lentils and loo roll. Waves of panic buying triggered by the rapid global spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) are a mass psychological phenomenon worth pondering. Prof Straughan had another theory: They were relatively cheap and easy to hoard. ... Singapore … As a result, these became the abiding images for many Singaporeans overnight. His basket of groceries held a bag of rice, four packs of assorted instant noodle flavours, a bottle of oil and several cans of tuna and sardine. "Net oil exporters' capacity to buy grains has dropped given the fall in oil prices and depreciation in currencies," said FAO's Mr Abbassian. Why People Are Panic Buying as Coronavirus Spreads Umberto Sanchez and Maria Hernandez from El Salvador, who live in Burbank, Calif., stock up … 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. Despite these short-comings in public communications, some experts felt that Prime Minister Lee’s nine-minute long speech on Feb 8 went some way in restoring a sense of normalcy. This was not something that Singaporeans had to worry about during the past virus outbreaks, she added. Logistics are likely to be a major global issue, analysts said. Only 7 % of news covered panic buying from Australia and 3.3 % from Singapore. And this fear can breed distrust and hostility towards others. The virus outbreak, he added, had drastically affected his earnings lately, though he declined to reveal by how much. With over 270,000 infections and more than 11,000 deaths, the epidemic has stunned the world and drawn comparisons with periods such as World War Two and the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. The mother and son then headed to their neighbourhood’s mini-mart in Choa Chu Kang. "Restaurant business is down, and as a result demand is a bit soft right now.". “Much of the Government’s message involved military terms (and) colour codes.". World rice stocks are projected at 182.3 million tonnes as compared with 175.3 million tonnes a year ago. 198402868E. Get unlimited access to all stories at $0.99/month for the first 3 months. Flow of goods, cargo, and food supplies between Singapore and Malaysia will continue. Speaking to the media the next day, Mr Chan also said that the panic buying at supermarkets will signal to other countries that Singaporeans cannot react well in times of crisis and could be taken advantage of in the future. Thu, Feb 20, 2020 - 5:50 AM. 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. People in S’pore Panic Buy & Wipe Out Items in Shelves After Announcement of new DORSCON Level. Scores of Singaporeans — such as taxi and private-hire drivers, as well as those in the retail and tourism industries — have seen their livelihoods taken a hit. Shelves of ready noodles in Singapore were left empty after fear led people to panic buy. Others have had to adjust to working from home as business continuity plans swung into place. 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”. Approximately 0.9 % of news came from China on panic buying and 1.4 % from North Korea . 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. As the outbreak escalates in a particular area, it will result in people raiding the shops, irrespective of cultures and national borders. The SPS council spokesperson noted that when the COVID-19 virus was first made known, there was an overwhelming amount of news and social media coverage. Communications experts said the panic-buying in Singapore might have been avoided if the information disseminated by the authorities had been clearer. Panic buying may be irrational, but it can be comforting. 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. Singapore has a robust strategy to ensure we do not run out of essentials. Also, they should have anticipated and addressed the public’s concerns and fears across the different platforms, he added. This phenomenon of group-think results in irrational and dysfunctional thinking and outcomes. Waves of panic buying triggered by the rapid global spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) are a mass psychological phenomenon worth pondering. Just hours earlier, the Ministry of Health (MOH) had raised the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) risk assessment level from Yellow to Orange. “And that’s 12 hours of festering, and it entrenches (the fear that there are no supplies).”. 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”. Up till this incident, Prof Straughan felt that the Government had been doing well in being upfront with Singaporeans about the virus situation. “But we continue to keep an open mind because we are the first line of defence.”. "What if bulk buyers think they can't get wheat or rice shipments in May or June? Why People Are Panic Buying as Coronavirus Spreads Umberto Sanchez and Maria Hernandez from El Salvador, who live in Burbank, Calif., stock up … “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. READ: Commentary: Looks like containment of COVID-19 not as effective as we had hoped, READ: Commentary: Hot and humid weather may end COVID-19 outbreak – as well as the development of a vaccine, BOOKMARK THIS: Our comprehensive coverage of COVID-19 and its developments. 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. As one of the first places the virus touched down, Hong Kong in late January became a case study in how panic buying can escalate. “At the moment, people are sourcing their masks from all over the world and there’s simply not enough,” he said. 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 … 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. As a result, some Malaysians are panic buying at Tescos and Giants as they fear the lockdown will affect supplies. Meanwhile, curtain maker and supplier MC2 held its first Facebook Live event on Feb 11. The Straits Times. 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. 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.”. Green is good. Panic buying helps people feel in control of the situation, experts say. “There are four levels. Supermarkets in countries around the world are rationing food and household staples in an attempt to prevent shortages as the coronavirus pandemic sparks waves of panic buying. DORSCON is a colour-coded framework that shows the current disease situation. 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.