Minister for Trade and Industry, Chan Chun Sing assured Singaporeans and the general public that essential supplies have been stocked up over the past two months and that Singapore is not in danger of running out of food and other suppliers brought in by retailers.
This was said yesterday, just a few moments after Malaysia’s announcement that it will restrict all movement throughout the country from 18 March to 31 March to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 within Malaysia.
The order, made under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and the Police Act 1967, will see tightened border controls by imposing prohibitions on both outbound and inbound travel.
Malaysians are not allowed to travel outside the country throughout the imposition of the order, and citizens who have recently returned from overseas are required to undergo health tests and a 14-day self-quarantine.
Tourists and other foreign visitors will not be allowed to enter Malaysia during the period in which the order takes effect.
All business premises, schools and higher learning institutions, and other forms of premises whether public or private, as well as places of worship are subject to the order and will be required to shut down during the stipulated period.
Exemptions, however, apply to all essential services such as utilities, telecommunications, postal services, transport, broadcasting, financial and banking services, and health services — among several other sectors.
Supermarkets and other businesses selling food supplies will also be exempted from the shutdown requirement during the order.
Essential supplies actively stocked
Mr Chan assures that the Government has been actively working with essential firms such as NTUC Fairprice, Sheng Siong and Dairy Farm International to increase Singapore’s stock of food and essential supplies over the last two months.
“This means that we are not in danger of running out of food or other supplies brought in by our retailers.”
In addition to building up our inventory of food and essential supplies, we also have in place a robust multi-pronged strategy that will ensure we do not run out of the essentials we require.
For example, we have local production capabilities for products such as noodles, infant milk powder and canned goods among others. In the event that we need to increase supply for our domestic consumption, we can ramp up quickly and easily to do so. We have also continued to diversify our sources of essential goods, for example we get a good amount of vegetables from China and even go as far as Australia and Spain to secure our supply of eggs.
He then urged everyone to make purchases in a responsible manner and to purchase only what they need else no amount of stockpiling will be sufficient.
Mr Chan also asked for those businesses that employ Malaysian workers who commute between Singapore and Malaysia daily should contact the economic agencies if they need assistance.
“We will continue to stay in touch with our Malaysian counterparts as the situation evolves. Our priority is to ensure that our people and our businesses are able to continue with their lives and their livelihoods.”
“I am aware that many of these new restrictions and announcements may be quite overwhelming for many people. I ask for your continued trust and support as we work hard with all stakeholders to ensure that we get through these short-term challenges together.”
So far perhaps as a result of Mr Chan’s reassurances, no panic-buying has been observed in Singapore. This might also have to do with Minister Chan’s earlier viral leaked audio clip where he was heard, reprimanding those who were hoarding essential items after the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) was raised to Orange.