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In Focus: Coronavirus sparks panic buying

One wonders what would make people buy toilet paper of all things, surely there are more important things to purchase such as long-lasting food items if the country is placed in lockdown.

Toilet paper was flying off the shelves in Australia recently, the public’s response to panic buying after news of positive cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in the country.

It became so bad that retailers had to put a stop to the ‘madness’ by rationing shoppers as some stores couldn’t keep up with the sudden demand.

ALSO READ : In Focus: Finding middle ground

Not too long ago, the same happened in Hong Kong.

One wonders what would make people buy toilet paper of all things, surely there are more important things to purchase such as long-lasting food items if the country is placed in lockdown.

Now with seven cases confirmed in South Africa, it seems the ‘madness’ has started here too with people rushing off to buy hand sanitisers, wipes and so on to ‘protect’ themselves from the virus.

There is also a global shortage of medical masks and prices have gone up. It makes sense for an infected person to wear a mask to stop the spread of the virus, however, if you are not, it is a waste of a mask which could be used by medical personnel who are in the front lines treating infected people.

Also, people should be thinking of the bigger picture. Is our health care system ready to handle a virus of this magnitude? What will happen if the infection rate snowballs as it did in China and more recently in Italy?

Furthermore, shouldn’t the government be thinking of issuing travel advisories to hot spots to prevent the disease from entering the country?

A case in point is some members of the group who recently visited Italy and have tested positive for the virus.

However, one can go a step further and think for themselves as responsible citizens not to travel to high-risk destinations. Okay, one will lose money because a holiday is booked months in advance but what of the consequences.

Money is certainly not more important than your health. Well, that’s my thinking anyway.

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