Express.co.uk readers can vote in our latest poll over whether you fear the horrific scenario of running out of vital food supplies as the Government steps up lock down measures. In scenes not experienced in our lifetimes, millions of Britons have rushed to supermarkets around the country at the crack of dawn, queuing up with huge trolleys and waiting for the shop’s doors to open. Once open, they have rushed through the doors, sweeping shelves clean of vital food supplies and leaving extremely slim pickings for anyone only able to visit their local supermarket later in the day.
Dramatic pictures show usually packed shelves in huge supermarkets completely empty, despite huge deliveries arriving at shops overnight.
Supermarkets have been struggling to cope with the incredible demand, with many limiting shoppers to a small amount of items per product line in a desperate attempt to bring the rush under control.
Britons spent an extra £60million on stockpiling in the first week of March – including an additional £17million on toilet roll alone, almost twice as much as the same week a year earlier.
The data, from industry analysts Nielsen Scantrack for trade ‘bible’ The Grocer, shows spending on the 12 most popular stockpiling products rose to £124million in the week ending March 7, up from £66 million for the same products 12 months earlier.
Coronavirus UK: Are you worried about your food supply as Britain locks down?
Boris Johnson has pleaded with Britons, and said: “I really hope retailers continue to be reasonable and I certainly wouldn’t want to see profiteering of any kind.
“As I have said before, we have good supply chains, and there is no reason for the shops to be empty.
“Everyone understands why people are buying stuff and we are all being advised to stay at home if we have symptoms, but please be reasonable in your shopping, and please be thoughtful and considerate of others as you do it.
On Thursday, the UK health authorities revealed the death toll had grown again substantially by more than a third (40) in just a 24-hour period to reach a total of 144.
Coronavirus UK: Shoppers have rushed to supermarkets amid lockdown fears
The number of confirmed coronavirus infections also continues to surge at an alarming rate, with 643 new cases in the 24-hour period as the total surged to 3,269.
The UK Government have already imposed strict social distancing measures in a desperate attempt to contain the coronavirus outbreak at the earliest opportunity.
The Prime Minister has urged Britons to work from home whenever possible, and urged the public to avoid visiting pubs, restaurants and clubs, which could all be shut in further lock down measures.
Britain’s travel has also been heavily restricted, particularly in London where half of the deaths from coronavirus have occurred, with 40 of the capitals London Underground services shutting, while other services across the Tube and bus networks will be severely scaled back.
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Coronavirus UK: Supermarket shelves have been left bare after shoppers panic-buy
Coronavirus UK: Boris Johnson has urged Britons not to panic-buy food
On Wednesday, Mr Johnson announced most schools across the UK will close their gates at the end of the academic day on Friday, with no time frame put on when they might be able to re-open.
As the coronavirus outbreak intensifies, the Government could unveil dramatic new lock down measures, as seen in countries such as Italy, France and Spain.
But Britons have been warned the coronavirus outbreak is still a long way from peaking in the country, suggesting the public could face weeks of lock down misery.
Last week, England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said he does not expect coronavirus to peak in the UK for another 10-14 weeks.
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The Department of Health has warned the UK will likely experience its coronavirus peak in around three months, when 95 percent of the infections are expected to occur.
This means most people will contract the virus between late May and June.
But on Thursday, Mr Johnson was still bullish in the UK’s determination to beat coronavirus quickly, and vowed the deadly virus will be “sent packing” in just 12 weeks.
Published at Fri, 20 Mar 2020 11:49:00 +0000