Fears and fake news being spread over social media about the Covid-19 Coronavirus in Thailand has sparked a food hoarding frenzy in Bangkok. Shoppers are quickly emptying supermarket shelves of long-lasting items.
People are hoarding instant noodles, packed rice, tissue paper, tinned fish and drinking water. Above all as fears mount over a possible coronavirus pandemic.
Large retail operators including Tops Supermarket, Tesco Lotus, The Mall Group and Big C acknowledged that these items have been snapped up quickly. Even more since the announcement of Thailand’s first death due to the Coronavirus.
Retailers are also in consensus that fear of the deadly virus is the primary cause for the shopping spree.
“We have never seen these kinds of purchases,” said Chairat Petchdakul, vice-president for supermarket merchandising at The Mall Group Co, the operator of Gourmet Market.
Shelves at a Tesco Lotus store are left empty from food hoarding
“At first we thought it stemmed from paydays. But the majority of the goods the shoppers bought were long-lasting items like instant noodles, drinking water and tinned fish,” he said. “We then assumed that the demand was from growing concerns about the coronavirus.
However, we will closely watch shoppers’ behavior again during these weekdays.”
Mr Chairat gave assurances that supplies of the mentioned products are adequate. Though with perhaps a slight delay in delivery from producers.
The Mall Group says it has doubled the inventory of goods from a 15-day supply to 30 days to prevent shortages. Also to ensure that consumers have a sufficient supply of the products they are looking for.
A worker at the Gourmet Market in Siam Paragon, said shoppers were forming long queues at the tills to pay for groceries.
Workers at the Tops Chidlom branch; Big C Supercenter at Future Park Rangsit; and Tesco Lotus on Nakhon In Road in Nonthaburi made similar observations of the hoarding phenomenon.
Mintita Thowkam, 33, a company employee, said she’s began hoarding goods because she is afraid of the coronavirus. She said she wasn’t confident in the government’s measures to control the spread.
“I don’t know whether the government’s agencies have efficient measures to handle big groups of Thai workers who are coming from South Korea,” she said. “If the measures are not serious enough, the outcome will be terrible.”
Thailand’s embassy in South Korean reports more than 5,000 were in the country, according to the Foreign Ministry.
“I’m quite worried about this, so I came to Tesco Lotus to stock up” Ms Mintita said. Adding that she also found some dry products missing from shelves.
Thai Police arrest women for sharing fake coronavirus news
Thailand’s cyber police have arrested 2 women for spreading fake news online about the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. A Bangkok woman and another in Rayong Digital Economy and Society Minister Buddhipongse Punnakanta announced yesterday.
Mr Buddhipongse said a team of officials from his ministry and the Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD) lead a raid in which the owner of a grocery store in Bangkok was taken into custody.
The unnamed shop owner was accused of posting a sham report on Twitter. She allegedly said a person had died of Covid-19 at a shopping mall in the Rama IX area. Also that 40 other people had subsequently been quarantined.