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19 Mar, 2020 12:15

UK supermarkets SWAMPED with panic buyers amid Covid-19 crisis, as product rationing falls on deaf ears (VIDEOS, PHOTOS)

UK supermarkets SWAMPED with panic buyers amid Covid-19 crisis, as product rationing falls on deaf ears (VIDEOS, PHOTOS)

Major supermarkets around Britain are facing a deluge of panic shoppers – despite introducing rationing of key items to curb stockpiling – as the country battles the threat of the coronavirus global pandemic.

In the last few days, big supermarket chains such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda said they were now limiting shoppers to no more than three of any food items, while also applying restrictions to cleaning and toiletry products. 

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The move came amid concerns that vulnerable and elderly people were being adversely affected by stockpilers, with supermarket bosses insisting there was no danger of their supply chains drying up.

However, the new measures appear to have done little to allay fears, with videos and photos of huge lines outside supermarkets amid tense scenes, circulating social media on Thursday morning. There were some angry exchanges between shoppers at an Asda store in Wembley, London, as crowds ignored supposed social distancing guidelines in their struggle to get through the doors on opening. 

Others posted compare-and-contrast images of scenes at a big Tesco store in Chesterfield, Derbyshire at 6am to illustrate the massive change in shopper behavior as people rushed to stock up. While a huge line of Sainsbury’s customers in Victoria, London was caught on film, reportedly before 7am.

Key workers such as paramedics, doctors and nurses are seen as massively important during the crisis. North West London Ambulance service tweeted a picture of an emergency healthcare worker with a basket surrounded by empty food shelves, and reminded Britons to think of key workers like them before panic buying.

Shocking footage of a man smashing the entrance of a Sainsbury’s in south London was posted on Twitter as alarm over the coronavirus crisis grips the UK. Police say that just prior to the incident on Wednesday night, shop workers had confronted a group of men after they were spotted stealing alcohol. 

A London Met Police spokesperson said: “When confronted by staff the men became hostile and threatening. When the group left one of them picked up a sign that was outside the store and damaged a window.”

It comes as the UK government cranks up measures to counter the spread of the deadly disease. On Wednesday PM Boris Johnson announced that schools in the UK would close this Friday and only remain open for students of ‘key workers’ and vulnerable children with special educational needs. 

Reports from “Whitehall sources” that London would soon go into “lockdown” with shops closing and transport severely limited appears to have exacerbated fears amongst the British population.

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