What restrictions are supermarkets putting on goods amid coronavirus panic buying?

PUBLISHED: 19:30 08 March 2020 | UPDATED: 09:49 09 March 2020

Empty shelves as toilet roll is sold out in an Asda store. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Empty shelves as toilet roll is sold out in an Asda store. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Press Association

Major supermarkets have begun placing restrictions on items including pasta, anti-bacterial wipes and hand soap in a bid to prevent shoppers from stockpiling.

Shelves across Norfolk and the rest of 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 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.

Empty shelves where hand sanitiser is usually stocked inside a supermarket. Picture: Yui Mok/PA WireEmpty shelves where hand sanitiser is usually stocked inside a supermarket. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire

READ MORE: Two N&N Hospital workers self-isolate as precaution over coronavirus

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


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.


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


No restrictions on any items at the moment.

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


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


No limits on any purchases.


Did not confirm any restrictions.


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.

The number of cases in the east of England rose by seven to 23, though none of them are in Norfolk or Suffolk.

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 5,000pc higher than their recommended retail price online, with bottles worth 49p selling for £24.99.

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