Hand sanitiser sells out in Suffolk shops amid fears over coronavirus
PUBLISHED: 13:58 02 March 2020 | UPDATED: 12:23 05 March 2020
Fears over coronavirus have seen hand sanitiser selling out in Ipswich and across Suffolk.
Today, we tried to buy a bottle of the gel in Ipswich town centre, but were unable to find any stocks, as the town was hit by a national shortage of supplies.
In the Boots store in Tavern Street, a sign today said that sales of the gels were restricted to two per person - but, even with this policy in place, there were no gels on the shelves.
The sign reads: "Hand sanitisers are currently limited to 2 per customer. Help us to support as many people as possible to keep their hands clean this winter."
We also could not find any hand sanitiser currently available to buy in Superdrug, Savers, Wilko or Sainsbury's. Customers were being advised that stocks are regularly replenished, but the gels are selling out quickly each time supplies are replaced.
Although hand gels may be hard to find, however, the shops we visited today all still had good stocks of soaps and anti-bacterial hand wash products which can be used with water.
The NHS has issued a guide to the best way to wash hands.
And the Lush store in Ipswich town centre has a sign in its window inviting shoppers to wash their hands for free with soap and water.
Suffolk customers have been taking to social media to discuss the hand sanitiser shortage.
OSR recruitment in Ipswich tweeted: "It's pretty crazy going into shops and seeing their stock. We went to buy hand sanitiser and there was absolutely nothing."
And a Bury St Edmunds shopper, Sara Millburn, tweeted: "In case anybody wanted to buy some hand sanitiser in Bury St Edmunds.... you can't. Nada. There isn't a single one to be had! Shelves are bare everywhere!"
Meanwhile, prices of hand sanitiser have gone up online in response to the demand. On Amazon, one pack of three portable mini 50ml hand gels was today priced at £33.98, around nine times the normal price. Others were selling for £6.99 - but with a warning that customers could have to wait around two weeks for delivery.
But a spokesman from Boots reassured people, saying: "We still have stock available in our warehouses for stores and online. There is currently a limit of two hand sanitisers per customer to ensure as many people as possible have access to them."
The spokesman said Boots was replenishing stocks as fast as possible, and added: "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.
"All our pharmacists have the latest public health advice on coronavirus and can offer advice on the best way to stay healthy."
Meanwhile, a shortage of face masks has also been reported nationally. Amid concern that dentists are facing shortages, the British Dental Association has said that government and the dental industry are taking action to unlock stocks of masks.