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Hand gel supplies rationed after rush to buy in Barking and Dagenham

PUBLISHED: 15:00 06 March 2020 | UPDATED: 15:43 06 March 2020

Brigitte Nono got one bottle for her daughter. Picture: Jon King

Brigitte Nono got one bottle for her daughter. Picture: Jon King

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A rush on hand sanitiser sparked by the coronavirus has seen shops sell out and restrictions on sales introduced.

Gloria Webb managed to get one bottle of hand gel on a shopping trip to Barking. Picture: Jon KingGloria Webb managed to get one bottle of hand gel on a shopping trip to Barking. Picture: Jon King

There were queues outside stores in East Street, Barking, on Friday, March 6 as people tried to stock up on the liquid soaps with some businesses running out or rationing customers to a bottle each.

Shopper, Gloria Webb, queued in Boots to but could only buy a single 50ml bottle for £1.55.

"This is the first time I've used it. I tried yesterday to get some too. [Coronavirus] does worry you a bit. But what can you do? You've got to take [life] as it comes," the 78-year old said.

Brigitte Nono was in town trying to buy sanitiser for her daughter, managing to find one bottle to put in her school bag.

Susan Webb managed to buy four bottles over as many days. Picture: Jon KingSusan Webb managed to buy four bottles over as many days. Picture: Jon King

"I tried a face mask, but you can't breathe properly. I've told my daughter to be careful. [Coronavirus] is worrying me because people die," Brigitte, 43, said.

Fellow shopper, Susan Webb, was able to put together a supply of four small bottles after days a week of searching the town centre.

"[Shopkeepers] were saying no more than two bottles per person, but now they say they've got none in the shops at all.

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"I've been in all the stores, but you can't get any. It's worrying in case [the virus] spreads. I always wash my hands as soon as I get indoors," the 70-year old said.

Farid Abibhole, who manages 97p Knockout in East Street, sold out of hand soaps four or five days ago.

"Customers are coming all the time asking for it. But I can't find any. The wholesalers have run out. In one day I sold five boxes with 24 bottles in each. They all went quickly," Farid said.

Boots confirmed hand sanitiser sales were being restricted to make sure as many customers as possible could buy.

A Boots spokeswoman said: "The best way to help prevent catching a virus is by making sure that you regularly wash your hands with soap, and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth to prevent transmission from surfaces, especially after blowing your nose, sneezing and coughing.

"Antiviral hand foams and gel can also be useful when you are out and about."

She also recommended washing your hands after sneezing or blowing your nose and binning tissues once used.

A Wilko spokesman said: "Supplying hard working families with the products they need to get their daily lives sorted is our number one priority.

"We aim to regularly replenish our supplies, but if for some reason stores run low, we would advise shoppers to check back in at a later date that suits them to allow time for new deliveries."


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