Taiwan on Saturday raised its coronavirus alert level in the capital, Taipei and the surrounding city, imposing two weeks of restrictions that will close many sites and limit gatherings.
While the total number of infections since the start of the pandemic remains low at 1,475, recent community transmissions have alarmed a population that has become accustomed to a near-normal life.
In messages on Saturday night, the President, Prime Minister and the Ministry of the Economy took to Facebook to say that there was no need to stockpile or rush to stores, after people rush to stock up on basic items, mainly instant noodles and toilet paper.
The Carrefour supermarket chain said it was restricting purchases of items such as masks and instant noodles at its stores in Taiwan, asking people to buy only what they need.
The Economy Ministry showed photos of warehouses crammed up to the ceiling with boxes of instant noodles, saying the supplies were “like a mountain” with lots of toilet paper and canned goods to go.