With the lockdown restrictions still in place, more and more Singaporeans are flocking to supermarkets to stock up on essential supplies. For instance, the mum of a two-year-old toddler, Ms Chervy Koh, has had to make two trips so far to get all the essential items on her list including toilet paper, vegetables, poultry, and ramen noodles.
The 34-year-old says she’s had to stockpile the essential food items for survival for the next two months. The mum says this helps her stay assured of not running out of resources in case of a shortage.
Ms Koh isn’t the only one to stockpile resources that she won’t need in the short term. As it turns out, other Singaporeans have been doing the same, hoarding essential items in the community.
This has prompted government officials to step in and reassure citizens that there’s enough and more to go around.
No Shortage Of Essential Items
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Trade & Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong, reminded people on Monday (31 May) that there is no shortage of essential items. Speaking during a virtual press conference, Minister Yong said, “There are ample supplies of food and essential items but people should buy only what they need.”
He added that Singapore is working with Malaysia to ensure the continued flow of essential supplies between the two countries. This becomes all the more important as Malaysia imposed a two-week lockdown between June 1 and June 14, 2021.
“As the pandemic continues to evolve globally, we must remain prepared and vigilant as a nation, while staying flexible and adaptable,” Yong said.
Mr Gan co-chairs the multi-ministry task force (MTF) on Covid-19. He said that the government is working with relevant agencies and companies to build up Singapore’s existing stockpile.
They are also working to further diversify the sources of food and essential items, and increase local production.
Supply-Chain Remains Undisrupted
Furthermore, the economic agencies are working with firms to ensure supply remains undisrupted. Yong also said that the overall impact of Phase 2 (heightened alert) will be modest on Singapore’s gross domestic product. The effects though will differ from one sector to another.
The consumer-oriented sectors are likely to see the major brunt of the restrictions, especially food, beverage, retail and land transport. Meanwhile, the impact on outward-oriented sectors like manufacturing will be less severe.
The government has been taking stock to understand the measures taken to ensure essential food items for survival for all. Mr Yong visited FairPrice’s distribution centre in Joo Koon and a cold warehouse at local logistics firm YCH’s Supply Chain City last week to better understand the ground realities.
He further explained that Singapore and Malaysia are working closely to ensure the smooth flow of goods and supplies. Despite the lockdown restrictions due to Malaysia’s full movement control order (MCO), the supplies will continue even after June 1, 2021.
Singapore Imports Over 90% Of Its Food And Resources
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Being an island, Singapore is dependent on Malaysia and other neighbouring countries to source essential supplies. The republic imports over 90 per cent of its food.
Fresh food items such as vegetables, fruits and fish are imported from Malaysia. Items are also sourced from China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, the US and South Africa.
Malaysia announced the MCO after witnessing a spike in the Covid-19 infections and deaths in the country. As of May 31, 2021, the country recorded 6,824 new cases with 67 deaths.
During the first Covid-19 lockdown in 2020, stores like FairPrice capped the amount of certain essential products that customers can buy. Each customer could buy up to four units of paper products, two units of noodles, two bags of rice and $30 worth of vegetables and poultry.
Should FairPrice and other stores reconsider buying restrictions for customers? Let us know what do you think.
News Source: The Straits Times