Footage of people in Singapore frantically stocking up on essential food items and toilet paper because of the Wuhan virus outbreak have been making the rounds on the Internet, causing unnecessary panic and unease in our little red dot. But even before the Great Singapore Supermarket Sweep, Hongkong had faced the same problem.
And Hongkong actress Tavia Yeung’s older sister, Griselda, has been accused of starting the toilet paper hoarding craze after an audio recording of her talking about a possible shortage was uploaded online.
In the recording, the 42-year-old claimed that the majority of the toilet paper producers are based in Wuhan, and that there would be supply issues as the factories there have been shut because of the lockdown. She also claimed that her husband has a friend in the logistics business, and that he was notified that “there might be a short-term shortage of toilet paper because of the closures”.
This audio file, which quickly went viral, was said to have caused panic online as many took her words to be true, and it led to Hongkongers rushing out to the stores to buy toilet paper.
Supermarket chains and companies specialising in paper products then had to step up to assure the public that they had sufficient stocks in their warehouse, and that there was no need for panic.
When Griselda was contacted by the media, she admitted that the conversation did take place. However, the actress clarified that she was merely “asking [her] friends to buy [toilet paper] with good intentions”. She didn’t expect that her words would end up being twisted, and she urged the public not to hoard essential items including toilet paper.
Netizens are less than impressed with her response, and wrote that she could just be saying it as damage control. “Who knows how many rolls of toilet paper she has at home? She might be telling us not to panic because she has enough to last her for months,” wrote one skeptical netizen.