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Coronavirus Fears Continue to Spark Panic Buying in U.S., UK, Japan & New Zealand

Tinned food, water, toilet paper & surgical masks all flying off the shelves.

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Fears over the coronavirus impacting supply chains have continued to drive panic buying of food, water, toilet paper and surgical masks across numerous major countries today.

More than 50 countries now have confirmed coronavirus cases, with the worst hit countries outside of China being Iran and Italy. BBC News reports that at least 210 people in Iran had died from the virus, way higher than official government figures.

This has prompted panic buying as customers desperately stock up on supplies in anticipation of potential shortages.

Photos out of northern California show shelves being emptied of respirators and bottled water.

Face masks are also completely sold out in numerous stores.

Hand sanitizer, thermometers and oat milk are also in hot demand as supplies are exhausted.

Cough medicine and other flu drugs are also running low.

Another photo from a Target in St. Paul MN illustrates the demand for tinned food.

“Stores everywhere selling out of masks,” reports Seattle news station KIRO 7, noting that a box of surgical masks on Amazon is also retailing over $1000 dollars.

In the United Kingdom, online supermarket Ocado said it had been experiencing “exceptionally high demand” with customers placing “particularly large orders”.

The retailer is telling customers that they may have to make their orders further in advance due to shortages.

The New Zealand Herald reports that people are “stocking up for the apocalypse” despite there just being a single confirmed coronavirus case in the entire country.

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“One shopper described lengthy queues, with water, hand sanitiser, soap and tissues flying off the shelves,” states the report, adding that there were huge lines at supermarkets across Auckland as soon as they opened.

Meanwhile, in Japan store shelves are being emptied of toilet paper despite an industry body’s request for people to stay calm.

Kyodo News reports that stock is being exhausted just 5 minutes after it is placed on shelves at drug stores and supermarkets.

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After photos of empty shelves went viral on social media, the Japanese government had to step in to reassure citizens, “Most toilet paper used in Japan is produced domestically and the supply chains remain intact.”

Meanwhile, the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said yet again today that “stigma” is a bigger threat than the coronavirus.

So despite the threat of a global pandemic and mass panic buying, at least we know people’s feelings won’t be hurt.

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Former Supermarket Boss Warns of Potential Coronavirus “Food Riots,” Army Patrols

Grocery stores may have to take drastic measures.

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Former Tesco supply chain director Bruno Monteyne warns that a large scale outbreak of coronavirus in the UK could lead to “food riots,” requiring the army to be used to guard supermarkets.

Monteyne said that supermarkets would have to resort to drastic measures and revert to “feed the nation status” under a worse case scenario.

He also cautioned that grocery stores would have trouble stocking shelves and delivering goods if their employees decided to self-isolate.

“Yes, it will be chaotic (and expect pictures of empty shelves),” wrote Mr Monteyne, “but the industry will reduce complexity to keep the country fed.”

He said that the army may need to be drafted in to guard stores and prevent disorder.

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he was “confident” food supplies would not run out and that there was “absolutely no need” to panic-buy.

Hancock also claimed that supermarkets could deliver food to coronavirus patients who had self-isolated, although this claim was immediately put in doubt by one supermarket executive, who said he was “baffled” by the suggestion.

“Matt Hancock has totally made up what he said about working with supermarkets. We haven’t heard anything from government directly,” the executive said, adding, “I’m not sure the government can guarantee all food supply in all instances.”

A source at another supermarket told the BBC that there had been no detailed planning involving government departments about “ensuring uninterrupted food supplies.”

Panic buying continued across the UK today, with supermarket shelves of goods like hand sanitizer, toilet paper and medicine.

The number of coronavirus cases in the UK has now reached 163, with two deaths.

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Journalist Shocked at Lack of Coronavirus Checks After Returning to U.S. From Italy

“They didn’t ask me anything.”

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A journalist expressed her shock that there were no checks whatsoever for coronavirus after she landed at JFK airport having returned from Italy.

Italy is the worst hit country in Europe, with 3,296 people infected with coronavirus and a total death toll of 148.

Despite other countries such as Hungary imposing mandatory health screenings at airports for all arrivals from Italy, no such measures are being taken at many U.S. airports.

“I just landed at JFK after reporting on #coronavirus in Milan and Lombardy —the epicenter of Italy’s outbreak— for @vicenews,” tweeted Julia Lindau. “I walked right through US customs. They didn’t ask me where in Italy I went or if I came into contact with sick people. They didn’t ask me anything.”

It’s a similar situation in Europe, where even as the coronavirus started to spread to numerous countries last month, EU officials insisted that no border controls would be imposed.

The virus has now spread throughout the entire continent.

As we highlighted earlier, a new study predicts that under the “best case scenario,” coronavirus will kill 15 million people worldwide and shave $2.4 trillion off the global GDP.

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Video: Costco Customers Sprayed With ‘DISINFECTANT’ At Door

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Steve Watson

As people in London attempt to stock up they’re subjected to ‘cattle dip’ by store staff

Customers entering a Costco in Croydon, London, were surprised to be confronted with staff spraying them with disinfectant at the front door as panic increases concerning the spread of the Coronavirus.

The person who shot the video commented that shoppers ‘lined up obediently’ to be sprayed with a ‘disinfectant-like liquid’, before they were allowed access into the store:

“By time I reached the top of the line I noticed the security guard/sales assistant had a translucent canister and he was spraying everyone as they walked in.” the shopper noted.

“You would show your card and then receive a squirt of whatever was in there and then you would get a tissue.” he added.

“The liquid was more fluid than hand sanitiser and it felt more water-based, it had a smell of disinfectant.” the customer also stated.

Costco denied the accusation, stating that staff were only spraying trolley handles, not customers.

“We are simply sanitising trolley handles in an attempt to be as proactive as we possibly can to protect our employees and our members.” a statement claimed.

With cases having reached over 100 in the UK, people are ignoring government pleas not to bulk buy tinned food, medicines and other items such as face masks and hand sanitiser.

Some stores have imposed a limit on such products.

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