LONDON (REUTERS) – British shoppers were queueing around the block early on Thursday morning (March 19) to buy basic goods such as bottled water and tinned goods, ahead of an expected toughening of measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
Reuters reporters saw more than 100 people queueing in the rain before the 7am opening of a large Sainsbury’s store in Clapham Common, south of the river Thames, while a few miles away in Vauxhall, queues snaked around another Sainsbury’s store.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has joined the country’s biggest supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons in urging shoppers not to stockpile, but the pleas have fallen on deaf ears.
Such is the demand for basic ambient goods that Ocado, a pioneer in online shopping, has had to stop new customers from signing up after seeing a several hundred percentage increase in Web traffic.
Most supermarkets are still taking online orders but they will not be delivered for up to three weeks.