Coronavirus stockpiling has seen self-interest deprive vulnerable people

Empty shelves in Boots in the Castle Quarter in Norwich on Saturday as shoppers stockpile in case of

Empty shelves in Boots in the Castle Quarter in Norwich on Saturday as shoppers stockpile in case of self-isolation due to Coronavirus. Picture: Lesley Hardy - Credit: Archant

Forget stockpiling, the best thing we can do to combat the spread of coronavirus is look after each other and make sure cleaning products are available to all.

Sarah Harding and her daughter came across sparse shelves in the toilet roll section at the Tesco st

Sarah Harding and her daughter came across sparse shelves in the toilet roll section at the Tesco store in Harford. Picture: Sarah Harding - Credit: Archant

I was in Boots in Norwich's Castle Quarter this week and saw an elderly man asking a shop assistant where he could find hand sanitiser.

She told him that every time they restock each morning it is gone in two minutes and he walked away looking disappointed.

While there has been no instruction on a national level to stockpile in case of self-isolation, it hasn't stopped shoppers hoarding cleaning products, rice and pasta and piling enough toilet roll to last until retirement.

While this probably started as just a few individuals, this has snowballed as people don't want to be the only one left without and has led to supermarkets looking reminiscent of Christmas Eve.


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This stockpiling seems indicative of a disjointed society, where self-interest goes above taking care of those that are vulnerable.

READ MORE: Never mind the bog rolls... here are five supermarket items I'd stockpile due to coronavirus

Firstly, to stop the spread of the virus everyone needs to have access to cleaning products and, in particular, hand sanitiser which is pretty much sold out everywhere.

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The elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions are most at risk, yet their situation is not being helped by empty shelves as they may not be able to travel as far and would be the first to be told to stay indoors if there was a mass outbreak.

I saw a tweet at the weekend which stuck out to me, Liz Crosbie wrote: 'My dad has Motor Neurone Disease and is housebound.

'Yesterday my elderly mother tried to buy the wet wipes and materials his carers need.

READ MORE: Five new cases of coronavirus in east of England as UK total reaches 373

'Nothing available locally so thanks to all those panic buying it means those that need assistance can't get it - calm down and think of the vulnerable.'

If people do need to self-isolate there will be provisions in place, such as food deliveries left on the doorstep and people just need to shop as normal.

Instead of depriving others of essential goods, keep calm and carry on until told otherwise.

Make sure to join our Norfolk Coronavirus Updates Facebook group.

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