NHS worker 'battles' through supermarket queues to feed his family amid coronavirus stockpiling

22 March 2020, 12:45

By Kate Buck

An NHS worker has described his "battle" through the supermarket as he tries to feed his family.

Gaetano Ferrante is a cardiac physiologist from Birmingham, and in addition to being a healthcare worker, is also doing his best to care for his family during the coronavirus pandemic.

His parents are in their seventies, meaning they are self-isolating and and unable to shop for themselves.

But when Gaetano tried to get to Tesco on one of his well-deserved days off, he said the queues made it impossible to get enough food or maintain social distance to stop the risk of spreading the virus further.

He said: "I'm an NHS worker and this morning I went to Tesco to do my weekly food shop.

"I had to go today because when I tried to go during the week I tried to go after work and by that stage all the shelves are empty.

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People queue out the shop at Shirley, West Mids, as they rush to buy food
People queue out the shop at Shirley, West Mids, as they rush to buy food. Picture: PA

"My parents are in their seventies, and my sister has two small kids at home so I was buying stuff for myself and for them because they don't have the opportunity to get to supermarkets.

"It was hard work, I had to get up early and battle through the queues. The queues were horrendous, there were people there with masks on, people there with gloves on.

"But if I didn't go today then I don't know when I would have got enough food for myself or my immediate family."

Gaetano added: "It's hard work, but necessary. But people are panic buying, whatever the government says people aren't listening at all.

Gaetano Ferrante is a cardiac physiologist from Birmingham. Picture: LBC News

"Social distancing was out the window from what I saw at Tescos this morning. It was impossible to keep a metre apart from anyone else there were that many people in the store.

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"At one stage they had to stop people from going into the store."

His message comes after the medical director of NHS England said that Brits who stockpile should be "ashamed" of themselves.

Professor Stephen Powis, urged people to think of struggling NHS staff during a press conference at Downing Street this afternoon.

"I would like to make a plea on behalf of all my colleagues in the NHS, nurses, doctors, paramedics and many, many others who are working incredibly hard at the moment to manage this outbreak of coronavirus," he said.

Shelves across the UK have been ransacked after people were urged to stay home
Shelves across the UK have been ransacked after people were urged to stay home. Picture: PA

"It's incredibly important that they too have access to food, to those essential supplies that they need."

He added:"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."

He said there is "more than enough food" and urged people to think of others when they stockpile.

Sainsbury's have announced that from 7.30 to 8.00 each day, their supermarkets will be open only to those who work for the NHS, and who show an ID at the door.

Additional reporting by Kate Baldock.