Global supermarkets impose limits as panic buying spreads

Video credit: Reuters Studio
Published on March 18, 2020 - Duration: 01:47s

Global supermarkets impose limits as panic buying spreads

Britain's biggest supermakets have imposed limits on how much shoppers can buy, as panic buying grips the country in scenes repeated all over the world.

Joe Davies reports.


Global supermarkets impose limits as panic buying spreads

Long lines with trollies full of food and other essentials are a familiar sight around the world now.

Shoppers are choosing to strip shelves bare ahead of any lockdown.

On Wednesday (March 18), that prompted Britain's biggest supermarkets - Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda - to impose limits on purchases.

Tesco is allowing shoppers to buy just two packs of certain items such as dried pasta, tinned tomatoes, and cleaning products.

Sainsbury's and Asda are limiting customers to three of any one product.

Though all say the supply chains that bring food from across the world are still functioning.

Other countries including Russia have similar issues with panic buying.

Supermarkets in Moscow have started running low on certain items. On Tuesday (March 17), officials said Russia could limit exports of some foods if the coronavirus pandemic leads to a shortage there.

In Belgium, one supermarket chain is now reserving the first hour of the day for elderly people - those most at risk from the virus.

(SOUNDBITE) (French) CUSTOMER, ARLETTE CRELOT (74), SAYING: "I took advantage of the fact that I woke up early this morning to come here.

But I didn't expect to see that many people at this time of the day." Supermarket shelves are being emptied in Johannesburg too.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) SHOPPER, NOMUSA GUMEDE, SAYING: "I'm also trying to safeguard my family in a way.

So that at least I have enough food.

Especially the tin stuff.

I'm not a tinned food person, but at this stage I had to buy a lot of tinned stuff in case of emergency." In Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison criticized those buying more than necessary.


I can't be more blunt about it.

Stop it.

It is not sensible, it is not helpful and it has been one of the most disappointing things I have seen in Australian behavior in response to this crisis." The message from governments and supermarkets around the world is clear - only buy what you need, and there will be enough to go around.

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