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UK supermarket enforce coronavirus stockpiling limits

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

UK grocers are restricting the sale of some essential items in a bid to deter stockpiling amid the coronavirus outbreak.

A coronavirus panic-buying frenzy has seen Australians plunder supermarkets for crucial household goods such as toilet paper – but stockpiling concerns are also growing in other countries.

The UK's largest chain grocer Tesco has placed restrictions on a number of food and household items in a bid to deter stockpiling amid the growing coronavirus scare.

Online and in-store customers are now restricted to buying just five of select items, including antibacterial products, some tinned vegetables, dried pasta and UHT milk, the BBC reports.

Other stores are following suit, enforcing temporary limits on some products, with Waitrose, pharmacist Boots and Asda restricting the sale of sanitiser products.

According to a recent survey by Retail Economics, one out of 10 UK shoppers are engaging in stockpiling in the wake of the outbreak.

Experts have told the BBC however that any current product shortages amid growing demand would be short term, and that supply chains remained stable.

UK retailers who seek to exploit fears with price gouging have been warned they will face legal repercussions.

The UK's Environment Secretary George Eustice is set to speak with heads of trade and supermarkets to discuss measures in support of "vulnerable groups who may be in isolation", the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs told the BBC.

Other countries including Australia have been experiencing stock shortages amid panic buying.

Woolworths, Coles and Aldi stores have seen shelves containing rice, bottled water, toilet paper, pasta stripped bare.

Tensions over a growing demand for toilet paper recently boiled over, with two women caught on camera exploding into a brawl in Western Sydney.

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The Pharmacy Guild of Australia (PGA) has said there have been numerous reports of consumers trying to stock-up on prescription medicines because of fears the onset of COVID-19 might lead to medicine shortages.

Wholesalers have also reported higher than usual demand for prescription and over-the-counter medicines.

But PGA bosses said there are no drug shortages because of the virus and stockpiling may have "unintended consequences for Australian patients".

Last month, almost one million protective masks were sent to airport staff and doctors, after the Australian government unlocked its stockpile for those working on the coronavirus front line.

Source: 9News

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