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Coronavirus LIVE: Stockpiling leaves NHS workers 'facing empty shelves'

21 March 2020, 07:36

People have been stockpiling across the UK
People have been stockpiling across the UK. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Environment Secretary George Eustice said at the government's daily coronavirus press conference that there is no shortage of food in the country and people need to "calm down".

Mr Eustice also confirmed that manufacturers have increased production by 50% to cope with increased demand.

He said that people buying more than they needed meant key NHS workers fighting the disease were faced with empty shelves when they tried to buy food at the end of their shifts.

At the daily Downing Street press conference, he said the message to the public was: "Be responsible when you shop and think of others.

"Buying more than you need means others may be left without. We all have a role to play in ensuring we all come through this together."

READ MORE: NHS chief says people should be "ashamed of themselves" for panic buying

It comes at the Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced yesterday that pubs, clubs and cafes will need to close "as soon as they reasonably could" on Friday night.

A date for their re-opening has not yet been put in place.

Mr Johnson told a press conference that the measure was necessary to "push down the curve" as the number of deaths in the UK rose to 167.

He said food outlets could continue to provide take-out services.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak also announced yesterday that the Government will step in to pay wages in a bid to keep people in employment during the pandemic.

Read more: What do the latest UK coronavirus announcements mean for you?

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