Coronavirus: Tesco rations essential food and household items – City A.M.

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Tesco has begun rationing essential food and household items as shoppers stockpile amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Customers are limited to buying no more than five of each of the rationed goods, including antibacterial gels, wipes and sprays, dried pasta and UHT milk.

Read more: Coronavirus: Number of UK cases rises to 273

The rules apply both in store and online.

Waitrose has also reportedly introduced a temporary cap on some items on its website.

Sainsbury’s said it was not limiting any of its stock.

It comes as online shops hike up prices of antibacterial gel as shoppers scramble amid the coronavirus outbreak. According to research by Liberty Marketing, retailers’ own brand hand sanitisers are being sold online for up to 5000 per cent more than their original price.

Lidl’s own brand hand sanitisers are being sold on Ebay for £29.99, a 5000 per cent increase in comparison to the RRP of 49p.

A YouGov survey commissioned by Radio 4’s PM programme last week found that one in three people (32%) are concerned about not having access to enough food if they have to self-isolate. While nearly one in ten people (9%) are stockpiling. 

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The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has warned traders not to “exploit the current situation” and take advantage of people.

In a statement the regulator said it will “consider any evidence that companies may have broken competition or consumer protection law, for example by charging excessive prices or making misleading claims about the efficacy of protective equipment.”

“In addition, the CMA will assess whether it should advise the government to consider taking direct action to regulate prices.”

Read more: Coronavirus: Government prepared to give NHS ‘whatever it needs’

The CMA’s chairman Lord Tyrie said: “We will do whatever we can to act against rip-offs and misleading claims, using any or all of our tools, and where we can’t act we’ll advise government on further steps they could take, if necessary.”

The number of cases in the UK rose to 273 over the weekend, with 29 cases in London alone. Globally, there are now more than 100,000 confirmed cases of the virus, with 3,400 deaths.

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