People in New Zealand Panic Buying in Supermarkets After 1 COVID-19 Case Reported

So you think that people in Singapore are kiasu and kiasi because we wiped out all toilet paper rolls when DORSCON level was raised from yellow to orange.

Back there, there were already 33 confirmed cases, though it should be noted that one day before kiasu Singaporeans suddenly fell in love with toilet paper, people in Hong Kong were panic-buying, too.

So is it copycat buying?

No one knows as this is more irrational then Steven Lim’s actions.

Because one day after one COVID-19 case is announced in New Zealand, the Kiwis also believed that it’s time to start a minimart in their houses as well.


That escalated fast.

COVID-19 Condition in New Zealand

New Zealand had prepared for a COVID-19 outbreak since 28 January when they set up a healthcare unit in response to the growing cases in China. All health practitioners have to report any suspected cases of the COVID-19 to the Ministry of Health.

A few days later, on 3 February, New Zealand started to deny entry to China travellers, and there hasn’t been a confirmed case for the island country since then…until yesterday (28 February).

It’s technically an imported case and it’s not from China, but from Iran who had entered the country via Bali.

Reader Bao: Bali is Indonesia right? There zero case what!

Yes, I know, Mr Bao. But she came from Iran, the region whereby fatality rate is about 9% while the rate in other countries outside of China is less than 1%.

But moving on.

The person is a Kiwi and her condition is improving. She had arrived in Auckland on Wednesday and is in her 60s.

New Zealand is now introducing strict travel bans on arrivals from Iran similar to those already imposed on arrivals from China, even when Iran has only 388 confirmed cases, which technically doesn’t have the highest number of cases outside of China.

But the Health Minister said, “Obviously this situation in Iran is concerning, there is ongoing spread of the disease there and a large degree of uncertainty about the scale of the outbreak and the ability to contain it.

“The information that’s coming out of Iran appears to be out of step with what’s coming out of other countries in terms of the death rate per incidence.”

And just one day after that, the Kiwis caught on to another virus: the panic-buying virus.

People in New Zealand Starting Hoarding in Supermarkets

Twitter was filled with images of empty shelves in supermarket this morning.

Reader Bao: Twitter? Not Facebook?

Yes, Mr Bao. Only people in Singapore and Malaysia still use Facebook; in other countries, Facebook is used by boomers. Some people didn’t even know Facebook still exists.

But anyways, images like these went viral:

Image: Twitter (@Paula_Korunic)

It got so bad that Foodstuffs, a major supermarket chain in New Zealand that has almost 53% of the New Zealand grocery market, is limiting the number of people inside a store at any one time.

They said in a statement, “This decision is being made for the safety and comfort of customers, and will be utilised for short periods as needed.

“If customers continue to shop normally, stores will have no issues providing the usual range of products. We would ask customers to resist the urge to stock up as this simply puts unnecessary pressure on stores.

“We are continuing to work closely with vendors to secure as much stock as possible, and exploring sourcing new brands to fill the gap, but volumes are limited due to international demand.

“If a customer’s local store is sold out of the antibacterial products they are looking for, we ask for patience as we secure more stock and get it on store shelves.”

And the Kiwis are hoarding stuff that confuses our Prime Minister, too: toilet paper.

Image: Twitter (@PatriotDesk)

Let’s just say that for the very first time since the beginning of mankind, toilet paper is finally getting the respect it deserves.

Image: giphy

“No need to stockpile,” Director-General of Health Says

Just like in Singapore, the authorities have to step up to tell hoarders not to stockpile.

The Director-General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, came out to advise people not to stockpile food and emergency supplies as “there are plenty of supplies to go around.”

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He said, “I think what people need to do is again, just keep this in perspective, it’s a single case, yes prepare, make sure you’ve got what you need, but there’s no need to make sure that you have everything stocked up in the cupboard by the end of this weekend.”

I don’t know about you, but suddenly, I feel that we Singaporeans aren’t that kiasu or kiasi after all.