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Coronavirus: Supermarkets ration hand sanitiser and pasta to stop panic buying

Shelves across the country have been emptied of goods, including toilet paper, as shoppers stock up on essential items.

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A shortage of antibacterial hand sanitiser on the shelves at a Sainsbury’s supermarket (Joe Giddens/PA)

A shortage of antibacterial hand sanitiser on the shelves at a Sainsbury’s supermarket (Joe Giddens/PA)

A shortage of antibacterial hand sanitiser on the shelves at a Sainsbury’s supermarket (Joe Giddens/PA)

Supermarkets have placed restrictions on items including pasta, anti-bacterial wipes and hand soap in a bid to prevent shoppers from stockpiling amid coronavirus fears.

Shelves across the country have been emptied of goods, including toilet paper, after Public Health England urged members of the public to “plan ahead” for if they had to self-isolate for a couple of weeks.

However, the Government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said there is “absolutely no reason” for the British public to panic buy.

Tesco has almost entirely sold out of dried pasta online (Tesco/screengrab/PA)

Tesco has almost entirely sold out of dried pasta online and has now introduced a five limit number on several items, including anti-bacterial wipes, gels, and long-life milk.

No other supermarket has resorted to rationing food, however the majority are now limiting anti-bacterial gels to two per customer — or have sold out entirely.

Hand gel was not available to buy online at Aldi (Aldi/screengrab/PA)

The full list of restrictions at each supermarket is as follows:

Tesco

Five-item limit on a number of items including pasta, anti-bacterial wipes, gels and sprays, and long-life milk. Started online on Sunday morning and in stores on Saturday afternoon.

Waitrose

Only online at the moment, and only includes restrictions on certain anti-bacterial soaps and wipes.

Morrisons

No restrictions on any items at the moment.

Aldi

Has not yet responded, but ant-bacterial hand gel is not available online.

Asda

Hand sanitiser restricted to two per person both in-store and online. No food restrictions. Many anti-bacterial products out of stock online.

Asda has sold out of the majority of anti-bacterial products (Asda/screengrab/PA)

Sainsburys

No limits on any purchases.

Lidl

Did not confirm any restrictions.

Ocado

Has not yet responded, but no limits on products online.

As of 9am on Sunday, 273 people had been diagnosed with Covid-19 – an increase of 67 from the 206 cases confirmed at on Saturday. It represents the largest day-on-day increase in diagnoses.

Coronavirus concerns appear to have created an international rush for toilet paper. Two women have been charged after a fight broke out over toilet roll in an Australian supermarket, with a video of the altercation shared widely online.

Hand sanitiser products were also found to be selling for more than 5,000% their recommended retail price online, with bottles worth 49p selling for £24.99

One eBay listing has seen a second-hand bottle of liquid soap sell for more than £5 — despite being only three-quarters full.

PA