Last week, Minister of Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing reassured Singaporeans in a Facebook post that there is ample supply of essential food and household items. This follows the announcement by the Ministry of Health (MOH) that the novel coronavirus situation will be raised to Orange according to the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON).
As of Friday, there have been three new confirmed cases, taking the total number of cases within the country to 43.
Mr Chan in his post tries to alleviate fear among Singaporeans regarding the spread of the virus and assures them that there is no reason to panic and resort to stocking up of food supplies, especially essential items like rice and instant noodles.
He reminds the public that everyone has their role to play and they should exercise personal responsibility by not buying in bulk and hoard these items unnecessarily.
Mr Chan further advised Singaporeans to remain calm and alert as the government is closely monitoring the situation. He explained that it is incumbent of the government to ensure that the needs of Singaporeans are met and catered to.
In response to Mr Chan’s Facebook, netizens flooded CNA ’s social media platform to vent their frustrations.
Fuming over Minister Chan’s previous comments that there are sufficient masks for all, only to be proved otherwise, citizens refuse to believe his claims that there is ample supply of food. Netizens are quick to point out that until now there are still not enough stocks of masks available for purchase at local stores. Given this, they believe that the Minister’s reassurance is a false pretense.
Alice Liaw is outraged as she writes, “For 3 weeks now every Watson’s, Guardians, all shops selling masks, sanitizers are sold out. All talks about ample mask available… where to buy them? Lies”.
Alice like many others above indicate that they have lost faith in the government’s word.
Despite Mr Chan’s efforts to calm the public and discourage them to buy goods in bulk, citizens are unconvinced. They stated that the public has cleared out shelves at local groceries. Some even expressed concern about how essentials items such as rice, instant noodles, meat, and toilet paper have been cleared out.
Facebook user Gloria Faith compares the situation to Metro Sale and Black Friday as all items are sold out. She expresses concern whether the supermarkets would be able to restock quickly. Anne Ang, like other netizens, explains that people are panicking as they have no confidence in the government.
Meanwhile, David SG Chin offers an alternative to help working people who cannot hit the supermarkets and buy their supplies. For them, he suggests, that the government should provide emergency food supplies so that they are not made to starve in any eventuality.