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Coronavirus Provokes Local Shortages

March 7th 2020

An empty hand sanitiser shelf at the Co-op

An empty hand sanitiser shelf at the Co-op in Northgate

An empty hand sanitiser shelf at Morrisons

An empty hand sanitiser shelf at Morrisons in Eastgate

In Bargain Buys in Louth, customers are limited to 5 purchases of soap products each. In Morrisons on Eastgate, toilet paper stocks were low on Saturday, although not depleted. Very few places have hand sanitiser available. And painkillers such as ibuprofen are in very low supply.

These shortages are all prompted by the news about Coronavirus, or Covid-19, which has come to the UK and has spread beyond a few isolated cases. As of 7th March there were at least 17 cases in the Midlands, with one confirmed case in Lincolnshire.

Reasonable stockpiling or panic buying?

It is reasonable to have some stocks of goods ready, in case you need to self-isolate for a period.

However, consideration must be given to people who can't stockpile goods for a number of reasons, whether it's due to finances, storage space, or being unavailable such as due to being on holiday or in hospital. So if you're building up supplies for a 14 day period of self-isolation, the considerate thing is to do it gradually.

How much will you and your family actually need? It's easy to get carried away at the sight of empty shelves, but if you've already got enough supplies for more than a couple of months then there is no need to bed down for the apocalypse. And don't take the last item in stock unless it's an emergency.

Official advice

Visit the NHS page for its updated advice on dealing with Coronavirus.

The UK Government also has guidance for the public.


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