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Panic buying escalates in Bangkok following sharp spike in cases

The Thais are flocking to nearest supermarkets and grocery stores on to stock up goods and supplies as fear grows that the COVID-19 outbreak will escalate, following a sharp spike in cases in the kingdom. 

Videos and images of empty shelves, trolleys full of dried food, unusually long queues at supermarket cashiers have been making the rounds on social media, with shoppers sharing their experience at crowded supermarkets.

Thailand recorded 32 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, the highest single-day rise since the outbreak in January, bringing the total number to 114 in the kingdom.

A check at Big C Ekkamai  store here saw shoppers, wearing face masks and gloves, pushing their trolleys that are piled with toilet paper, instant noodles, canned and dried food, rice as well as bottled drinks, with the shelves for infant formula and pet food starting to empty.

A 46-year-old housewife, Lalita Saiwan, said she is stocking up essential items and foods as a precautionary measure.

“Everyone is spending more than normal just to be on the safe side. If the government decides to implement a nationwide lockdown following the sharp increase in COVID-19 cases, we have enough food supply,” she told Bernama.

A staff at Big C, who declined to to be named, said more people are buying things in bulk, especially bottled water, toilet papers, rice and instant noodles,

“Many of them filled up the entire trolley. You can see items flying off the shelves faster than we could restock,” he said.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan o-cha advised the public to remain calm and stop the panic buying.

“There is no need for panic buying. We are not at a stage that needs to stockpile food…please don’t be afraid,” he told reporters yesterday.

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