Palace urges public to buy only what they need amid coronavirus fears

Robie de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Wednesday urged the public to “buy only what they need” amid rising number of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections in the country.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the appeal following reports of panic-buying in some supermarkets, groceries or pharmacies.

Panelo said panic-buying would only result in “undue hoarding and price increases.”

“Our officials from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) gave assurances that we have ample stock of essential items,” he said in a statement.

He also noted reports of overcrowding in some hospitals linked to coronavirus fears following recent increase in number of infections in the country.

The Palace official said that while the government encouraged everyone to seek consultation in case they experience any symptoms of coronavirus, those considered close contacts with COVID-19 symptoms “should be prioritized in obtaining medical attention and management.”

He said close contacts include persons with a travel history in the last 14 days to countries with local transmission or those who have a history of exposure to patients who tested positive for COVID-19.

Also considered as close contacts are people who provided direct care for a COVID-19 patient or those working together, staying in the same close environment, traveling together, or living in the same household with a COVID-19 patient within the 14-day incubation period.

Panelo also reminded the public to maintain proper hygiene and good health, and refrain from sharing unverified information that may only cause unnecessary anxiety among the public.

”We cannot stress enough the importance of everyone’s cooperation during this time,” he said.

“Let us not circulate unverified information that may only cause unnecessary anxiety among the members of our respective communities and instead maintain good hygiene and observe proper etiquette at all times,” he added.

The Philippines is currently under a state of public health emergency following the hoisting of Code Red Sublevel 1 by the Department of Health (DOH) after it confirmed the country’s first case of local transmission.

As of posting time, the country has 33 confirmed coronavirus infections as reported by the DOH.

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