In a joint letter on Sunday, UK retailers addressed fears over coronavirus-linked stockpiling in the country, urging customers to be considerate in their shopping.
The letter was signed by representatives of several supermarket groups including Tesco (TSCO.L), Sainsbury’s (SBRY.L), Asda (WMT.N), and Morrisons (MRW.L) which are all part of the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
“We understand your concerns [over the coronavirus outbreak] but buying more than is needed can sometimes mean that others will be left without. There is enough for everyone if we all work together”, the retailers underscored.
They also singled out online and click-and-collect services which they said are operating at “full capacity”, adding that staff and suppliers are “working day and night to keep the nation fed”.
Ridiculous scenes in Tesco Colney Hatch this morning. Shelves cleared like there's been a riot. The selfishness of some people filling their trolleys with multiple packs and leaving none for others is staggering. (Plus so much for getting here early to avoid crowded spaces.) pic.twitter.com/CIhJexaYul— Michelle Davies (@M_Davieswrites) March 14, 2020
Earlier, Sainsbury boss Mike Coupe noted in an email that “there are gaps on shelves because of increased demand, but we have new stock arriving regularly”. He pledged that his company would do its best “to keep shelves stocked”.
He also urged shoppers, to “think before you buy and only buy what you and your family need”. The remarks come amid ongoing trading tumult in UK supermarkets that is usually only witnessed during the pre-Christmas rush, according to some retailers.
Apparently adding fuel to the fire was Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement on Thursday that those Britons who have even mild COVID-19 symptoms are subject to self-isolation for at least seven days.
Police Issue Scam Prevention Advice as COVID-19 Pandemic Grows
In another development, police have warned not to succumb to panic so that fraudsters cannot benefit from public fears over the growing coronavirus pandemic.
In a fraud prevention advisory on Saturday, Detective Superintendent Estelle Mathieson, head of Greater Manchester Police (GMP)’s Economic Crime and Cyber Unit, said the police are especially alarmed about the fact that “fraudsters are using what is a time of uncertainty for many and exploiting innocent people out of their hard earned money”.
“It is likely that nationally, scams of this type will rise as the virus situation continues, and GMP is committed to identifying and targeting these offenders as well as promoting advice to the public. The more information we can give people about fraud and how to protect themselves, the easier it will be to stop it from taking place”, Mathieson pointed out.
Many scams were reportedly related to face mask deliveries as well as emails and texts which allegedly emanated from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organisation.
The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, in turn, said that British scam victims had lost more than over £800,000 (about $981,000) since February.
The World Health Organisation’s latest data indicates 1,144 confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK, with the death toll currently standing at 21.