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Coronavirus: Northern Ireland public urged not to steal hand sanitisers after pumps go missing

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A health trust in Northern Ireland has urged the public not to steal hand sanitiser, as demand grows amid the coronavirus outbreak

A health trust in Northern Ireland has urged the public not to steal hand sanitiser, as demand grows amid the coronavirus outbreak

A health trust in Northern Ireland has urged the public not to steal hand sanitiser, as demand grows amid the coronavirus outbreak

A health trust in Northern Ireland has urged the public not to steal hand sanitiser, as demand grows amid the coronavirus outbreak.

A spokesperson for the South Eastern Trust said there had been a rise in portable pump hand sanitisers going missing in healthcare centres.

"We are currently putting measures in place to secure the provision of hand hygiene products," they said.

"These products are used to provide protection to vulnerable patients and we would ask the public for their consideration and to refrain from removing these from any facility."

Last week, pharmacies across Belfast struggled to keep up with demand for sanitiser with stocks quickly selling out.

Bosses at Northampton General Hospital also appealed for common sense as sanitising gel was disappearing from ward beds "every single day" and dispensers had been ripped off walls.

Meanwhile, a survey from Retail Economics has suggested as many as one in 10 UK shoppers have started stockpiling supplies.

Major supermarket chains like Tesco and Waitrose have placed restrictions on certain items like sanitiser and toilet roll to cope with demand. Speaking to the BBC on Monday, Retail NI chief executive Glyn Roberts warned concerned shoppers against panic-buying.

"We would urge people, don't stockpile. We don't want to get into a situation where we're seeing widespread panic buying because that's in no one's interest," he said.

On Monday, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) met with a number of retailers to discuss how they are coping with the crisis as the number of UK cases hit 278.

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