Covid-19 infection keeps Hanoian shoppers up all night

By Giang Huy   March 7, 2020 | 01:13 pm GMT+7

Hanoians started to stock up on supplies Friday night as soon as the capital’s first Covid-19 infection was confirmed by local authorities.

Almost immediately after local authorities announced a confirmed Covid-19 infection in the capital city Friday night, many residents of Time City, an urban area in Hanoi’s Hai Ba Trung District, rushed out and spent the whole night shopping to stock up on food.

Almost immediately after local authorities announced a confirmed Covid-19 infection in the capital city Friday night, many residents of Times City, an urban area in Hanoi’s Hai Ba Trung District, rushed out and spent the whole night shopping to stock up on food.

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A Times City resident brought a large bag to buy food during the night shopping rush. The nation’s 17th Covid-19 patient has been quarantined and is undergoing treatment at Campus No.2 of the Hanoi Central Hospital for Tropical Diseases, the capital city’s Chairman, Nguyen Duc Chung, said at an emergency meeting held late Friday.

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Fruits, noodles and vegetables became hot sellers as shoppers tried to buy as much food as they could.

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On average, each household seemed to use three baskets to buy food, with considerable focus on milk, egg, rice and cookies with long expiration dates.

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Choice pickings of vegetables and meat went to early birds and latecomers had no choice but to picking leftovers on the shelf.

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A rice shelf with around 10 packages left. Around 1.30 a.m, most shelves were on the verge of being emptied by the late night shoppers.

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Apart from rice, instant noodles were a hot item. Each household bought 1-2 cartons.

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We normally close at 11 p.m., but we’ve worked overtime today. We will work until there is no customer," said a very tired staff member at a leading supermarket chain outlet in Hai Ba Trung District.

On Saturday morning, representatives of many supermarket chains, including Big C, VinMart and VinMart+, said their staff had been working around the clock without increasing prices of food and other essential items.

"We plan to have enough goods to serve our customers in the next few weeks," said Nguyen Thi Phuong, Deputy General Director of Central Retail which manages Big C supermarket chain.

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"On learning that a woman had tested positive for the novel coronavirus, my husband and I went to the supermarket and bought things to stock. We will avoid going out to public places for the next few days," said Ha, one of the late night shoppers.

A representative of the Ministry of Industry and Trade said that they have asked local firms and distributors to boost supplies, especially of essential commodities, to meet citizens’ demands.

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Hung (R) spent VND10 million ($431) on food and had to borrow a trolley from the store to take her stuff home. "People should not be confused and worried. The city has carried out measures strictly, according to foreseen scenarios," said Vuong Dinh Hue, Hanoi Party Secretary.

He said shopping in crowded places without adequate protection could pose infection risks.

 
 
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