There is no need to ‘panic buy’ food, government adviser says

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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.”

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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”.

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  • Show Comments
    1. I’ve been putting aside extra food for a while but not in preparation for a pandemic. It’s in preparation for when Universal Credit is rolled out here in East Anglia. But then again, widespread disease is probably not as life-threatening as UC has proven to be to so many British people.

      My stores are a bit third worldish–a few dozen tins, a large bag of rice and a large bag of strong flour for bread-making–but they’ll keep me alive through five lean weeks or more. Some unfortunate people in this country have actually starved to death, and I think it’s just a question of time before a lot of poor British people, kids especially, develop kwashiorkor, or swollen belly, as is common in areas of famine. Maybe then Tory voters will begin asking themselves what have they allowed this country to become?

      1. There’s little reason for any child or adult, whichever state benefit they live on, to be malnourished. Every supermarket sells pretty good food at affordable prices. I’m a single man who’s lived on JSA for years and I’ve no trouble keeping a nourishing diet. To suggest that famine is likely because of UC is plain daft scaremongering. Industrial farming practices have two effects: cheap food and devastated environments.

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