Expats and locals stocking up on necessities as virus victim numbers increase

Published:  3 Mar at 6 PM
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Locals and expats in Europe are stocking up due to fears of forced lockdowns or voluntary quarantines.

As coronavirus cases continue to increase across Europe and the risk of contracting the disease is officially raised to ‘high’, expats and locals are raiding local malls and stores. Panic shopping is increasing across the continent, with stockpiling of necessities causing empty supermarket shelves.

In Italy and France, governments have announced strict rules against public events, with get-togethers of over 5,000 in enclosed spaces now totally banned. Events such as football matches, the Paris half-marathon and an upscale Cannes property festival are all forbidden, and UN and other official events have been postponed to a later date. Expat teachers are now facing schools shutdowns as the numbers affected increase across most of the continent, and expat businesses in major European capitals are now threatened with closure due to lack of essential supplies from China.

The usual rituals of personal contact such as shaking hands in Germany and France and kissing on both cheeks in France are being studiously avoided, increasing the impact of the virus on normal life. Many expats in Southeast Asia have growing concerns over the financial aspect of being hospitalised by a virus infection, as the majority aren’t covered by state insurance schemes or are low on capital due to currency exchange or immigration issues. Others are being forced to take time off on an unpaid basis.

School closures are becoming the norm, and medical facilities in a number of developing countries leave a lot to be desired. Even for those who still have jobs, the breaking news that air conditioning may be a convenient path for the virus is yet another reason for fear.
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