IPOH, March 16 — Panic buying in Malaysia escalated today after the country yesterday saw a sudden spike in new Covid-19 cases.
Pictures and videos of Malaysian heading to their nearest supermarkets and grocery stores to stock up on goods have been making the rounds on social media.
Long queues, similar to the festive season, were seen at most shopping centres, with people loading dry goods into trolleys and emptying shelves as fear grows that the government could implement lockdown measures to combat the infection rate.
A Twitter user with the handle @Mkhairulazri posted pictures of people panic buying at Tesco in Cheras.
“Come on Malaysian...Please don’t do panic buying. Location: Tesco Cheras, 11.30am,” he wrote.
Come on Malaysian..— Khairul Azri (@mkhairulazri) March 16, 2020
Please don't do panic buying.
Location: Tesco Cheras, 11:30 AM. pic.twitter.com/JYyYIHmctk
R. Mages, 58, who was doing her usual shopping at Tesco in Cheras told Malay Mail that the crowd was unusual for a weekday afternoon.
“Looks like people are stocking up on groceries due to the Covid-19. Long queues were seen at all the counters,” she said.
Another Twitter user @harith2891 posted a picture of people queuing with trolleys full of groceries at Giant Hypermarket in Batu Caves.
Giant batu caves pic.twitter.com/Bst1Oc6RmI— harith shah (@harith2891) March 16, 2020
Another user @Darentiff shared a video of people thronging to a supermarket from his Instagram via Twitter by writing “Sigh it has started!”.
Twitter user @Nuraisyahusna said that Malaysians are doing exactly what Singaporeans did when their country was hit with Covid-19 infections.
“A month ago we laughed at Singaporean. Now look at our people,” she wrote.
A month a go we laughed at Singaporean. But now look at our people 🙃— Nunaaa🐻 (@Nuraisyahusna) March 16, 2020
Meanwhile, Check-in Asia, a travel and hospitality company, shared a picture of people stocking up on groceries at a supermarket and said that the hottest business right now in Malaysia is groceries.
“Forget tourism or oil. The hottest business in Malaysia right now is groceries. Rumours of an impending lockdown are fuelling panic buying in supermarkets,” wrote the Kuala Lumpur-based company.
The Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) on its official Twitter account warned people not to spread fake news on Covid-19.
“News or message relating to the suggestion by the Health Ministry urging people to buy groceries and lockdown measures is fake news,” KPDNHEP wrote.
BERITA PALSU !— mykpdnhep (@mykpdnhep) March 16, 2020
MOHON HENTIKAN PERKONGSIAN BERITA PALSU INI.
" Berita atau mesej berkaitan cadangan oleh Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia agar rakyat mula membeli barang keperluan asas dan perintah berkurung ADALAH PALSU ! "#KPDNHEP #Covid_19 #COVID19malaysia pic.twitter.com/hlThPYJ7vE
KPDNHEP also said it hopes that Malaysians will not panic buy as this situation will create a negative impact on the price and supply of grocery items.
KPDNHEP berharap TIADA PANIC BUYING dilakukan, kerana situasi ini akan lebih mendatangkan kesan negatif kepada harga dan bekalan barang keperluan harian pengguna .— mykpdnhep (@mykpdnhep) March 16, 2020
Malaysia yesterday saw 190 new Covid-19 cases, most of which were linked to a religious event that took place between February 28 and March 1, in Sri Petaling, bringing the country’s tally to a whopping 438 cases.
This figure represents the biggest single-day jump in Covid-19 cases in Malaysia to date. It also makes Malaysia the worst affected country in South-east Asia.