COPPERBELT Minister Japhen Mwakalombe says there is no need for panic buying of food stuffs in view of the COVID-19 pandemic as this is creating artificial shortages.

Mwakalolmbe said this during a tour of shopping malls to check on the compliance of social distancing and hand washing.

“The government is still able to bring food in the country. So there should be no need for panic buying of food staffs. Comply so that we avoid the lockdown for Copperbelt and the country at large. We don’t want to use force on the vendors, just listen and follow what is put up. We are just removing the streets kids to protect their lives. We need to remove them. It is a serious concern to us,” said Mwakalombe.

“There is no need to panic and I want to assure the people of the Copperbelt that government is equal to the task of supplying food.”

He warned that those stock piling food were only risking having all of it spoil.

Mwakalombe also noted with concern how a number of employees in some shops were not wearing protective masks.

He urged store managers to ensure that they complied a hundred percent to the laid down protective measures to curb the virus and avoid a complete lockdown of the Copperbelt and the country at large.

He was however, impressed with the clean surroundings, compliance with social distancing as well as the use of hand sanitiser and the setup of wash basins.

He advised the managers at chainstores and other shops at the mall to ensure they adhered to the measures as well as enforced the measures to guide the public.