Panic buying empties shelves in Hong Kong

0
107
Customers wear masks when they walk past empty toilet paper shelves in a supermarket after the outbreak of a new corona virus in Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, the outbreak of a new corona virus in mainland China has led to a series of panic purchases of important goods such as toilet paper and rice.

Despite government assurances that there is no cause for concern, panicked Hong Kong buyers fear that the city's efforts to combat the spread of the virus may result in a lack of necessities.

Shoppers who queued at a pharmacy in central Hong Kong on Friday to buy tissue paper felt compelled to stock up.

"I have friends who couldn't get it, so I'm helping them buy it," said one of the buyers, an accountant who only gave the Associated Press her last name, Yeung. "But I don't know why there are rumors that there is no tissue paper, so everyone is concerned."

Customers wear masks when they walk past empty toilet paper shelves in a supermarket after the outbreak of a new corona virus in Hong Kong
After the outbreak of a new corona virus on February 6, 2020 in Hong Kong, China, supermarket customers walk past empty shelves, where rolls of toilet paper are usually available.

Tyrone Siu / REUTERS


Queues in front of the shops and emptying of the shelves take place, although the government insists that the anti-virus measures do not interfere with cross-border freight transport from mainland China, which supplies most of Hong Kong's perishable and other essential goods.

Hong Kong chief secretary Matthew Cheung said the two-week quarantine needed by anyone arriving from the mainland would not interfere with the flow of goods and there was no reason to panic.

In a government statement on Wednesday, panic buying "the malicious act of spreading rumors in the city's fight against the disease" was charged.

"There is no shortage of food. There are sufficient stocks of basic foodstuffs, including rice and pasta. The public need not worry," it said.

A customer wears a mask as he walks past empty toilet paper shelves in a supermarket after the outbreak of a new corona virus in Hong Kong
A customer in a supermarket in Hong Kong, China, on February 7, 2020.

Tyrone Siu / REUTERS


The Hong Kong Food Council also said that measures to combat viruses had no significant impact on the supply of rice, vegetables and other staple foods.

The government has left two land border checkpoints open and has refused to fully seal the mainland border in hopes that the quarantine will reduce cross-border travel.

The virus infected 31,000 people worldwide and killed 638, reports CBS News. All but two deaths occurred in China, one in Hong Kong and one in the Philippines. As of Friday, there were 12 confirmed cases of the virus in the United States.