About this time two years ago, as Hong Kong braced for the first wave of Covid-19, the frantic buying of food, face masks and other basic necessities emptied market stalls and shop shelves for a short time. It says something about the current fifth wave that there is again a familiar hint of panic in the air as it smashes case records, disrupts fresh vegetable supplies and pushes up prices, and the authorities again tighten their grip on social-distancing rules over normal life. Unfortunately, panic only makes things worse. A community weary of restrictions may not feel the same sense of crisis as two years ago, but it is not far from the surface. A case in point is the recent sudden disruption to supplies of fresh vegetables, for which the city is almost entirely dependent on the mainland. All it took was for a few cross-border truck drivers to test positive, either after returning to Hong Kong or at Shenzhen Bay Port. Trucks and vegetable supplies were delayed by closure of the cross-border control point for disinfection and investigation. Shoppers across Hong Kong experienced the knock-on effects on market supplies and prices this week. Welfare activists say some of the city’s poorest have complained about rising prices. While many are in a position to cope with a temporary rise in living costs, low-income families cannot absorb them for long and they are a source of worry. Thankfully, vegetable supplies soon began returning to normal, but similar disruptions to cross-border provisions cannot be ruled out. Moreover, an intensified campaign to persuade people to stay home has prompted many to stock up on necessities, putting more pressure on demand and prices. So long as the latest wave surges, uncertainty will prevail. In this situation panic can feed on itself and spread very easily. It must be resisted. There is no rational reason for it. The city has lived with Covid-19 restrictions for two years and should be able to adapt to any challenge to normal supplies. That said, cross-border drivers are a vulnerable link in the supply chain. The government should be alert to any need to help them and smooth bumps in the road, subject to proper border checks. In this respect, close liaison with Guangdong serves the interests of both sides.