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Canadians turn to stockpiling on coronavirus fears, survey finds

Mar 11. 2020
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By Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Kait Bolongaro · BUSINESS, WORLD, RETAIL, THE-AMERICAS

Almost a fifth of Canadians have reported stockpiling food and household items to prepare for the possibility of a larger coronavirus outbreak following a government recommendation to do so, according to the latest polling data from Angus Reid.

Some 17% of Canadians said they purchased extra supplies such as food, toilet paper and medicine in case they'd have to spend several weeks at home in the event of a quarantine, the online survey of 1,512 people found. More than 40% of respondents now view the threat of the virus as "real and serious," up from less than a third at the beginning of February.

"The advice from the government has been to get medicine and stock up on food," Shachi Kurl, executive director at the Angus Reid Institute, said in a phone interview. "Nearly one in five Canadians are stockpiling, which reflects millions of Canadians."

Medical authorities are currently treating 79 cases across the country, and one person has died, according to Health Canada, which assessed the public health risk associated with the disease as "low," but said that could change rapidly.

Canadians should refill prescriptions now and stock up on non-perishable items, but avoid panic buying, according to a public health advisory on the government's website.

The Angus Reid survey was conducted between March 5 and March 6 and is considered accurate within 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.


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