No panic buying observed in Kuching but supermarkets running low on certain items

Many Kuchingites were observed buying essentials and other items in modest quantities in the two days leading up to the restricted movement order period.

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By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, March 17: Kuchingites perhaps should be praised for remaining cool even after the announcement on restricted movement order by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin last night.

Today, a drive around town suggested that businesses are open and the roads filled with vehicles as usual, with neither a stark increase nor sudden decrease.

At a popular shopping mall, it was observed there was still people patronising shops, although the numbers were fewer than expected.

At the foodcourt, however, there was still quite a sizeable lunch crowd.

No panic buying was observed, but supermarkets here are apparently enjoying brisk business.

Visits to an upscale supermarket and a supermarket catering to the working class respectively suggested that many customers were purchasing foodstuff especially dried food but in modest quantities, with the odd one or two exhibiting signs of hoarding by pushing a cart full of 10kg bags of rice.

A supermarket trolley piled high with rice.

Common foodstuff Kuchingites were seen purchasing include rice, instant noodles, biscuits, eggs and canned food.

Household items in demand include toilet rolls, diapers, sanitary pads, kitchen rolls and tissue paper.

The cashier of a supermarket told DayakDaily that there has not been any obvious panic buying but business for the supermarket has been very good.

“At any time of the day, there will be people buying, especially foodstuff. So for us, it is non-stop work. They do not all come at one time but any time of the day after opening, our supermarket is filled with customers.

“They buy different foodstuff, especially those that can be kept and not of big quantity. There hasn’t been any long queues as people are coming in gradually and steadily,” said the cashier.

Empty vegetable baskets are seen at noon time at a supermarket in Kuching.

It was also observed that many supermarkets seem to be running low on fresh local vegetables.

A check on two supermarkets late yesterday afternoon revealed their fresh vegetable and fruits sections cleaned out.

Late this morning, the same thing was observed in two other supermarkets which the reporter visited.

Traffic conditions in Kuching appeared to be normal late this morning (March 17, 2020), the day before the nation-wide restricted movement order comes into effect.

Meanwhile, stocks of sanitisers and face masks continued to elude many customers.

A pharmacist said new stock of sanitisers arrived a few days ago, but they were sold out yesterday.

“As for masks, we were unable to get any new stock at all. They were all sold off during the Chinese New Year period and until now, we could not replenish our stock as we were told there was no stock,” said the pharmacist. — DayakDaily