File photo. Photograph:( AFP )
'Buy as much as possible, there's plenty of goods', said Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang in a Facebook post.
While other countries are advising their citizens against panic shopping and hoarding of supplies, Taiwan has taken a very different approach. On Thursday, Taiwan Premiere advised people to "buy as much as possible" as it is an "ideal opportunity" to help the country's economic woes.
"Buy as much as possible, there's plenty of goods", said Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang in a Facebook post while pointing out that the country has enough food and basic supplies for every citizen.
"Taiwan is a kingdom of fruits, a kingdom of fisheries, and a big food processing country. During the Wuhan pneumonia epidemic, as the economy is slowing down, of course, the government encourages everyone to enthusiastically buy," he wrote.
"If people aren't spending outside and want to cook for themselves at home, buy more vegetables and fruit, buy more Taiwanese agricultural products, cheer on the farmers. This is a great thing," he said, adding that the island's farmers would welcome the support.
While Taiwan has only reported 108 cases of the virus, large rises in recent days from people returning from overseas has prompted some people to rush to supermarkets to stock up.
The Premiere's latest comments come after the country's health minister urged citizens to not hoard on supplies and said whoever found doing so will be punished accordingly.
Export-reliant Taiwan's economy has been buffeted by the virus. On Thursday the central bank cut interest rates for the first time in more than four years to a new low and shaved its outlook for economic growth this year to 1.92% from 2.57% forecasted in December.
The government is also rolling out a T$60 billion ($1.98 billion) stimulus package.