Coronavirus in KuwaitKuwait

Panic buying as essentials run out at stores

KUWAIT: Long queues are seen at the checkout counter of a supermarket yesterday. – Photo by Fouad Al-Shaikh

By Sajeev K Peter

KUWAIT: Long queues formed outside cooperative societies and retail outlets across Kuwait yesterday as people resorted to panic buying of essentials after the government declared a two-week public holiday in the wake of coronavirus outbreak in the country.

As soon as the news of the holiday broke, people rushed to supermarkets, co-ops, bakeries and grocery stores to stockpile staples like milk, bread, eggs, flour, vegetables and fruits, fearing that foodstuff will soon run out of stock. By 7 pm, huge crowds were seen at supermarkets in most residential areas such as Salmiya, Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh, Riggae, Khaitan and Fahaheel, leading to chaotic scenes in many places.

Some people complained that eggs, milks and vegetables ran out in many small shops and baqalas, while staff at cooperatives and supermarkets struggled to deal with the sudden spurt in demand for basic food items and the unprecedented buying spree. “It was really crazy. I stood in the line for two hours to get a crate of eggs and four packs of milk. But, I don’t see any reason for this kind of panic,” an expat named Rodrigues said as he came out of a cooperative in Salmiya.

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