New coronavirus case fuels panic buying in Hanoi


People crowd an AEON supermarket in Hanoi to stock up on goods after Vietnam confirmed its 17th COVID-19 infection, March 7, 2020. – Người dân tập trung tại một siêu thị AEON ở Hà Nội để tích trữ hàng hóa sau khi Việt Nam xác nhận ca nhiễm COVID-19 thứ 17, ngày 7 tháng 3 năm 2020.

[Reading level: B2 – Upper Intermediate]

The Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade has assured residents in Hanoi that there are sufficient supplies of goods as renewed fears for the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) – fueled by news of Vietnam’s 17th confirmed infection on Friday evening – have led to hoarding and panic buying in the capital city.


Authorities in Hanoi confirmed the country’s 17th COVID-19 patient on Friday night, who is a 26-year-old Vietnamese woman recently returning from a trip across three European countries, namely the UK, Italy, and France.


Between the patient’s arrival in Vietnam and her admission to the hospital, she interacted with many people.


News about the new infected case immediately prompted shoppers in Hanoi to flood local supermarkets, grocery stores, traditional markets, and convenience stores to stock up on goods.


The Ministry of Industry and Trade on Saturday issued a directive to distributors in Hanoi, asking them to increase their supplies of goods, especially essential consumer goods, to meet people’s demand.


Retailers are asked to source their goods from suppliers and sales points outside of Hanoi to restock inventories of stores in the capital city.


The ministry has also directed the Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade to closely monitor and maintain a stable situation on the market.


In response to the order, the Department of Industry and Trade of Hanoi reported that it has deployed forces to sales points and supermarkets in different areas in the city for checking on the statuses of goods supplies there.


The department has also coordinated with distributors and authorities in the city’s districts to limit panic shopping.


According to a quick report from a number of distribution enterprises, there were still sufficient supplies of goods at their points of sale to meet shoppers’ demand although the number of customers coming to their retail facilities to buy goods has spiked from Saturday morning.


This is thanks to the fact that they had previously tripled their inventories to prepare for a possible outbreak.


Likewise, supermarket chains have pledged to mobilize goods from outside Hanoi to the points of sale in the capital.


COVID-19, which first surfaced in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, has infected over 101,900 people and killed 3,488 globally as of Saturday morning, according to the Vietnamese Ministry of Health.


Vietnam has so far confirmed 17 infections, including the latest case in Hanoi. Fourteen of them are Vietnamese, while the other three patients include two Chinese nationals and one Vietnamese American.


Sixteen of the patients have recovered and been discharged from the hospital. Friday’s confirmed case was the first reported infection in Vietnam since February 13.






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