Nearly a month after the government began implementing various precautionary measures to reduce the risk and prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection in the country, the ‘herd mentality’ seems to have clicked in and people have been rushing to cooperatives and supermarkets to purchase and stockpile essential goods.

 Why the sudden sense of panic? No apparent reason, except that on Wednesday the government decided to clampdown on cafes, restaurants, clubs and fitness centers. But this decision, on its own should not be cause enough for a panic to set in. People had already stopped frequenting these places earlier when the authorities had called for a suspension of public gatherings.

The only additional factor that appears to have prompted the public to batten down the hatches, is that on Wednesday the banks also decided to shut down for the next two weeks. Banks are a very visible part of public life, and the fear that their money could be locked in for an extended period may have fueled the sense of panic.

For whatever reason, and despite government assurances that the country has ample food stocks, and that cooperatives and supermarkets will remain open, people have decided to follow the ‘herd’ and stock-up on essentials. The only silver lining is that at least the cooperatives and supermarkets will be making money from the panic.

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