Many Filipinos are hoarding alcohol, toilet paper, and other grocery supplies following the rise of confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in the country.
The Department of Health announced hundreds of new confirmed cases this March, raising the total number to 49 as of Thursday morning, following nearly a month of not reporting any new infections.
New patients reported to have tested positive for COVID-19 last Monday, March 10, are being treated in hospitals around Metro Manila.
Filipinos were then seen making bulk purchases of rolls of tissue paper, alcohol and face masks.
Some Facebook user also showed a photo of them filling up their grocery baskets with various brands of rubbing alcohol.
Some claimed that these products are being sold online at a higher price.
Why do people resort to panic buying?
According to psychologists, such behavior or response to a crisis occurs because a person’s inherent sense of control is violated or lost.
“People are really not equipped psychologically to process this type of thing. So that just makes it worse for a lot of people in terms of uncertainty, and then they do whatever they need to do to try and get back some control,” a marketing professor named Andrew Stephen was quoted as saying in a TIME article published March 10.
There is also no basis for toilet paper stockpiling which has not been proven to prevent the virus.
In Australia, where there are about the same number of reported cases as the Philippines, the chief state physician told parliament that “removing all the washing paper from the supermarket shelves is probably not a proportionate or prudent thing to do at this moment.”
Human beings just aren’t good at working with confusion, another therapist said in a recent Huffington Post story. The constant intake of news from people dying or getting ill because of the infection carries this negative emotion with it.
“Listening to that kind of news, day in day out, is going to trigger our survival instinct even more. Generally human beings aren’t very good at dealing with uncertainty, this is their way of having some certainty,” Hansa Pankhania was quoted as saying.
Recently, the World Health Organization warned business leaders and policymakers against this purchasing of personal protective equipment for hoarding, misuse and panic.
“Industry and governments must act quickly to boost supply, ease export restrictions and put measures in place to stop speculation and hoarding. We can’t stop COVID-19 without protecting health workers first,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
The Department of Trade and Industry in the Philippines also restricted the Filipinos from hoarding safety equipment and food products.