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Taiwan president advises against hoarding during COVID surge

850 million masks in storage: MOEA

A supermarket running out of instant noodles Saturday 

A supermarket running out of instant noodles Saturday  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) advised against hoarding masks, food and toilet paper after Taiwan confirmed a record 180 domestic coronavirus transmissions Saturday (May 15).

Supermarkets reported brisk business as residents stocked up on the goods. The virus surge led to the central government ordering a wide range of closures in Taipei City and New Taipei City until May 28, though the measures were also followed by most other local governments across the island.

Panic buying at supermarkets would only increase the risk of COVID clusters, the president wrote on her Facebook page Saturday. As Taiwan had been taking virus prevention measures for more than a year, there was an ample reserve of masks and other protective materials, she said.

Instant noodles and food in general, as well as toilet paper, was available in sufficient quantities and could easily be stored again by retailers, Tsai added. The president had also added the phrase “Stand together for virus prevention, protect Taiwan” to her Facebook photo.

In separate remarks, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said 850 million masks were in storage, with a daily production capacity of 40 million, CNA reported. Nevertheless, the ministry said it had asked manufacturers to step up production and quicken the delivery to retailers.