While supplies of consumer goods would remain stable will remain stable in Taiwan, President Tsai Ing-wen on Thu (19 Mar) warned that those found “hoarding supplies or manipulating prices” will “face heavy fines”.
Focus Taiwan reported that her statement was made in “an apparent response” to reports of panic-buying at supermarkets, following the government’s announcement of 23 new COVID-19 cases and tighter border controls the day prior.
President Tsai also urged people not to “blame others for the outbreak, but instead to be grateful for the sacrifices being made by medical personnel, manufacturers of protective supplies, and those complying with home quarantine and self-health management guidelines”, Focus Taiwan reported.
She also urged people to assist the government in disseminating accurate information about COVID-19.
Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said at a press briefing on Thu that Taiwan will only experience shortages if people engage in panic-buying.
He also highlighted that Taiwan had had relatively few indigenous cases of the virus and has a prevalence rate that is tens of times lower than to other places.
As at press time today (21 Mar), Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) reported 18 new cases, which brings the total number in the state to 153.
All of the 18 cases were imported, comprising 12 women and six men between the ages of 20 and 70.
The newly reported cases had returned to Taiwan between March 8 and March 19.
Most of them began developing symptoms of the disease soon after their return, said Dr Chen, who also heads the CECC.
The countries visited by the patients include the United States, the United Kingdom, France, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Egypt, South Africa, and Indonesia, he added.
Taiwan confirmed its second COVID-19 death yesterday after an 80-year-old man who had no recent history of travelling abroad passed away from complications caused by the virus.
The man from northern Taiwan was identified as the island’s 27th COVID-19 patient.
He also suffered from chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes, in addition to requiring kidney dialysis.
He developed a cough and runny nose on 6 Feb and was admitted to hospital on 9 Feb after exhibiting pneumonia symptoms, according to the CECC.
The patient began to have difficulty breathing on 16 Feb and was transferred to a negative pressure isolation room on 20 Feb. The elderly man was confirmed as positive with COVID-19 on 23 Feb after undergoing a test two days prior.
He was later identified as the source of a cluster of COVID-19 infection within his family, as it was found that he had spread the virus to his wife, grandchild, two sons and a foreign caregiver.