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Set clear rules against hoarding, profiteering during virus outbreaks

After Singapore raised its Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (Dorscon) alert to Orange over the novel coronavirus last week, we witnessed panic buying, which took our Government by surprise.

Near-empty shelves at a FairPrice Finest supermarket in Bukit Timah Plaza on Feb 7, 2020.

Near-empty shelves at a FairPrice Finest supermarket in Bukit Timah Plaza on Feb 7, 2020.

Frank Young

After Singapore raised its Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (Dorscon) alert to Orange over the novel coronavirus last week, we witnessed panic buying, which took our Government by surprise.

Why did this phenomenon happen?

I believe it was because civilians have no clear code of conduct for times like these.

It is clear that our Government's repeated pleas to "stay calm" and "play our part" did not work as kiasu (Hokkien for the fear of missing out) people emptied supermarket shelves and led others to panic, triggering a run on goods.

Socially responsible behaviour ceased and it was every man for himself.

That is why we need to develop and ingrain in Singaporeans clear rules of conduct for times like these, and roll out anti-hoarding and anti-profiteering rules when Dorscon alerts are raised.

We need to incorporate these rules into drills that must be conducted once in several years. 

Have views on this issue or a news topic you care about? Send your letter to voices [at] mediacorp.com.sg with your full name, address and phone number.

Related topics

novel coronavirus coronavirus Wuhan virus Dorscon panic buying

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