Zika: On the ground

Zika outbreak: Stores working on bringing in more repellents

Shelves selling anti-mosquito patches and insect repellent at Guardian pharmacy in Seletar Mall are almost cleared out on Aug 31, 2016. ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

Anti-mosquito products were sold out yesterday across FairPrice, Singapore's biggest supermarket chain.

But its chief executive officer Seah Kian Peng reassured consumers that the chain, which has more than 130 stores, is working closely with suppliers to bring in more stocks and that prices would remain stable.

"We understand the anxiety on the spread of Zika... The natural and human behaviour is to stock up, and the surge in demand has caused a temporary out-of-stock situation at our outlets," he explained.

With Zika cases rising, many people have been making a beeline for supermarkets and pharmacies to buy mosquito repellent products, causing shops to run out of these.

While declining to say when the items will be replenished, he said: "Obviously, it will take some time."

He urged the public to buy only what is necessary. "When we bring in the stocks, don't rush. We will continue to bring stocks in regularly but if all of us buy 10 times more than what we need, no matter how much we bring in, it's going to be sold out very quickly," he said.

A FairPrice spokesman said yesterday that there has been a 140 per cent increase in the sale of repellent sprays, patches and insecticides since Monday.

Watsons said some of its pharmacies have run out of these goods, with sales increasing by four times since Sunday. Its general manager Dominic Wong said this "was caused by the sudden surge in demand and we are currently intensifying our stock replenishment process".

The Guardian pharmacy chain has also seen brisk sales of such items, with a spokesman saying yesterday that it has increased orders with suppliers. "We perform deliveries to the stores as soon as the stock arrives from our suppliers and we are doing so with a sense of urgency."

• Additional reporting by Felicia Choo

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 03, 2016, with the headline Zika outbreak: Stores working on bringing in more repellents. Subscribe