Taiwan reports 206 cases and urges no panic buying as new curbs set in

TAIPEI: Taiwan appealed to people to avoid panic buying of items such as instant noodles and toilet paper as new curbs on gatherings and movement took effect to rein in the spread of Covid-19 amid a spike in domestic infections.

It reported 206 local cases yesterday.

On Saturday, it reported 180 infections, up from 29 the previous day.

Taiwan raised its coronavirus alert level in the capital, Taipei, and the surrounding city on Saturday, imposing two weeks of restrictions that will shut many venues and limit gatherings.

While total infections since the pandemic began remain low at 1,682, the recent community transmissions have alarmed a population that had become accustomed to life staying close to normal, with no full lockdowns of the kind seen elsewhere.

In messages late on Saturday, the president, premier and Economic Affairs Ministry took to Facebook to say there was no need to hoard or rush to the shops, after people scrambled to stock up on basic goods, mainly instant noodles and toilet paper.

"After more than a year of preparation, the country's anti-pandemic materials, civilian goods and raw materials are sufficient, and the stores are also operating as usual to replenish goods," President Tsai Ing-wen said.

While not ordering a total lockdown, the government is urging people to stay at home as much as possible. - REUTERS