March 14, 2020 1:46 pm EST
Updated: March 14, 2020 6:56 pm EST

‘We have plenty of food’: Ontario government urges calm amid pandemic panic buying

WATCH ABOVE: Long lines were spotted inside and outside of Ontario’s grocery stores on the evening of March 12 and morning of March 13 as residents stocked up on supplies to prepare for a potential COVID-19 lockdown. This footage shows scenes at a Food Basics in Niagara Falls and a Costco in St. Catharines, Ont.

The Ontario government is calling for calm amid reports of pandemic-related panic buying in grocery stores.

Health Minister Christine Elliott and Agriculture Minister Ernie Hardeman released a joint statement Saturday morning saying Ontario’s food supply is “robust” and distribution “will continue to operate and remain responsive to the needs of Ontarians.”

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“Rest assured, we have plenty of food that will continue to reach grocery stores on a regular basis,” the statement read.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Reports of lengthy lines, shelves running low at several Ontario grocery stores

“Our food supply chain is one of the strongest in the world and our government remains committed to ensuring Ontarians can access healthy and nutritious Ontario-produced foods.

“Please practice normal grocery buying habits and rest assured that our grocery production and supply chain will continue to provide Ontarians with the food we enjoy each and every day.”

The statement comes amid reports of packed stores and empty shelves, with some supplies running low at many grocery stores throughout the province.

The trend comes despite experts in Canada saying there is no need to worry about supply chains being maintained.

Panic buying has been reported throughout the world as well.

READ MORE: People hoard essentials as coronavirus fears rise, but panic buying isn’t necessary: experts

Meanwhile, Ontario announced 24 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday — the biggest daily increase in the province since the outbreak began — bringing the provincial total to 103.

Concerned about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials say the risk is very low for Canadians.

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Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing – very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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