Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday reassured the public that the nation has sufficient supplies of fresh produce and tissue paper, and that people can shop without worries.
Su made the remarks at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei in response to media queries about his Facebook post on Thursday, which said that people can buy as much rice, fruit, seafood, processed food and tissue paper as they want, amid reports of panic buying at supermarkets.
The public need not be alarmed over news of panic buying abroad, as supplies of food staples and daily necessities are under control, Su said.
Photo copied by Lee Hsin-fang, Taipei Times
The nation has sufficient food supplies, thanks to its robust agricultural, food processing and fishery industries, he said.
It has more than enough tissue paper, with production running at only about 60 percent of capacity, he said.
If people are afraid of dining out because of concern over the COVID-19 pandemic, they are welcome to buy more fruit and vegetables to boost produce sales, he said.
However, that does not mean people should hoard daily necessities, the premier said, adding that those who engage in profiteering by driving up prices would be promptly and severely punished by law.
Asked if the panic buying could have been triggered by false reports, Su said that people who spread disinformation about food or daily necessities running short would also face penalties.
Later, at a legislative question-and-answer session, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lo Ming-tsai (羅明才) said that photographs of people waiting in long lines to check out groceries on Thursday resembled a doomsday scene from a zombie movie.
He asked Su to reassure the public that there is no need to engage in panic buying.
Su said that judging by their current output, toilet paper manufacturers can immediately increase production if required.
He added that the government has 900,000 tonnes of rice in reserve and that the harvesting season is near.
Asked if there is no shortage of food and daily commodities, the premier said: “Correct.”
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chao Tien-lin (趙天麟) asked Minister of Justice Tsai Ching-hsiang (蔡清祥) whether there is any truth in reports that disinformation online sparked the panic buying.
The government has taken action to curb the spread of false information and the culprits would be held to account, Chao said.
Tsai said that the ministry had located the sources of disinformation, which are likely domestic, and would take legal action against them.
UNDER WATCH: Taiwan will have to establish a standardized nucleic acid testing method to identify the virus and monitor its spread, the CDC said The Langya henipavirus, which can be transmitted from animals to humans, has been discovered in China, with 35 human infections reported so far, Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said, adding that the nation would establish a nucleic acid testing method to identify the virus. A study titled “A Zoonotic Henipavirus in Febrile Patients in China” that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Thursday said that a new henipavirus associated with a fever-causing human illness was identified in China. The study said an investigation identified 35 patients with acute infection of the Langya henipavirus in China’s Shandong
MISSILE PATHS: Certain information on the Chinese missile fire was not disclosed to maintain secrecy over military intelligence-gathering capabilities, the MND said Military experts yesterday speculated on the implication of the government’s tight-lipped response and the lack of air-raid sirens during the first day of China’s military drills the previous day. On Thursday, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) launched 11 Dongfeng-series ballistic missiles into waters north, east and south of Taiwan, a day after US House of Representative Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s departure from the country, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said. The Japanese Ministry of Defense said that China fired nine missiles toward Taiwan, including four that flew over Taiwan proper. However, China’s exhibition of force failed to terrorize the local populace, because
If any war were to break out between the US and China, one trigger might be the increasingly frequent fighter jet encounters near Taiwan. Almost every day, Taiwanese fighter pilots hop in their US-made F-16s to intercept Chinese warplanes screaming past their territory. The encounters probe the nation’s defenses and force the pilots on both sides to avoid mistakes that could lead to a crisis that spins out of control. “I didn’t know whether they would fire at me,” said retired colonel Mountain Wang, recounting a tense five-minute confrontation he had with Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) jets more than a decade
INCREASINGLY EMBOLDENED: China can no longer be dismissed as inexperienced, demonstrating an ability to coordinate land and sea missile systems, an expert said Beijing’s largest-ever exercises around Taiwan have offered essential clues into its plans for a grueling blockade in the event of an attack on Taiwan, and revealed an increasingly emboldened Chinese military, experts said. The visit to Taiwan by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi — second in line to the presidency — sparked outrage from Beijing, which launched vast military maneuvers around the nation, even at the risk of partially exposing its plans to the US and its Asian allies. Mobilizing fighter planes, helicopters and warships, the drills aim to simulate a blockade of Taiwan and include practicing an “attack on