Coronavirus outbreak: Shopping frenzy in UK for toilet rolls, pasta, ‘dal’ – Hindustan Times

Restaurant News

“The world has gone mad, isn’t it”, an elderly shopper remarked as she jostled to reach the shelf with hand sanitizers, while the supermarket assistant exerted to make himself heard above the din: “Only two per person of everything, nothing more”.

The scene on Sunday morning at one of the supermarket Tesco’s stores reflected the panic-buying across most of the UK after the Boris Johnson government announced that the country is about four weeks away from an Italy-like peak of the coronovirus outbreak.

Ravi Singh, senior IT professional based in Maidenhead near London, travelled to Southall to buy ‘dal’ and other ingredients of Indian cooking, but struggled to get any. The usually well-stocked shops in the area known as ‘Little India’ had few on sale.

“We went to our usual shops but most brands of ‘dal’ were not available. I’ve been here for nearly 20 years but never seen such scenes in Southall or other towns. People are just stocking up, not knowing what the future will bring”, Singh said.

Toilet rolls, pasta, spaghetti and tinned food are among items in short supply. Many posted on social media images and visuals of empty shelves and long queues: of cars to enter car-parks of supermarkets and then before tills processing large shopping trolleys.

Buy responsibly, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) urged shoppers on Sunday, assuring them that retailers are working round-the-clock to help customers get the products they need. Concerns grew, since the UK imports many of its food products from the EU.

Helen Dickinson, BRC chief executive, said: “Retailers are working incredibly hard to keep shops well stocked and deliveries running as smoothly as possible”.

“In the face of unprecedented demand as a result of coronavirus, food retailers have come together to ask their customers to support each other to make sure everyone can get access to the products they need.”

Retailers such as Asda, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Boots have placed restrictions on the number of items people can buy in stores as well as on their websites, particularly wipes, anti-bacterial soaps, toilet rolls and hand sanitizers. Prices of some items have spiked due to the demand.

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