There is “absolutely no reason” for the British public to panic buy food or other supplies due to coronavirus fears, the government’s chief scientific adviser has said.
Patrick Vallance said measures would be taken if homes were put under quarantine and appropriate steps taken for places such as care homes.
His comments came after Ocado warned that people are placing larger orders than usual and other supermarkets worked up contingency plans.
In some places, supermarket and pharmacy shelves have been cleared out of antibacterial gel and other supplies.
Speaking to reporters as the government’s battle plan was launched, Vallance said: “I think the advice is that there is absolutely no reason to be doing any panic buying of any sort or going out and keeping large supplies of things.
“Clearly there will need to be measures in cases of household quarantine for making sure food is in the right place at the right time but we imagine that could be a rolling case of household quarantine if that measure becomes necessary, and clearly things will need to be in place for care homes and so on if that decision is made.”
He stressed that people should follow advice from ministers, adding: “What you don’t want is to end up in a position where people end up socially isolated in the wrong way and you certainly don’t want a situation where people are afraid to come to their front door for fear of catching something.”
England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, who was also at the briefing, said behavioural science evidence showed that the “response of the British public to disasters and emergencies is extraordinary outbreaks of altruism”.
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?