A Trip to the Market: What’s going on

Last night, Singapore’s Prime Minister announced a “circuit-breaker”. Workplaces and schools will be closed for a month to curb the spread of COVID-19.

This morning, I took my usual trip to the wet market to buy fresh meat and fish. I’m usually the one doing the groceries, and know the prices and shopkeepers.

I let the pictures speak for themselves. Things were mostly bare. It was only around 9am. I couldn’t get fresh vegetables either.

I don’t mean to be be alarmist, but there are real threats to the supply chains all over the world. Warehouses, farms, and delivery can all shut down if they detect one worker having the virus. I understand from shopkeepers that there are delays in air-lifting goods. I have tried many times to do online ordering from Amazon Prime and Lazada but there are no delivery slots available.

It is not unthinkable for countries to stop exporting and start keeping essentials for themselves. It’s already happening, with the USA banning the export of masks. If Indonesia and Malaysia start doing this for an extended period, there is real impact here.

Prices are increasing too. One auntie increased the price of detergent in front of me by 20 cents. A pack of 3 vegetables cost $6, up from $5 a week ago. These are small increases, but it is still giving me an uneasy feeling.

I bought enough milk powder and diapers for a month, just a bit more than my usual. For my kid’s essentials, I wouldn’t take chances.

It’s really worrying that things are going this way now. It’s reasonable to take more measures, given how many Covid-19 cases there are. But there is real impact on our economy and way of life.

I really hope that the situation settles down soon. But our one month long circuit breaker has just started.

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