PANIC buyers have started stripping shelves to get their hands on loo roll, fresh vegetables and rice again as England enters into its third national lockdown.
Boris Johnson announced the lockdown restrictions last night – but just hours after, shoppers were emptying supermarket shelves to stock up on essential items.
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Supermarkets in Ilford, East London, were stripped bare of certain items including rice and toilet roll just an hour after lockdown was announced.
Essential shops will remain open for the next six weeks – but Brits are being urged to stay at home as much as possible.
Last night, shoppers complained that they were stuck in virtual queues for Asda and Sainsbury's as many attempted to place online orders.
One person posted the loading screen, reading "lots of customers are shopping with us now," along with the caption "And so, the panic buying has begun!"
On October 31 last year, when Boris Johnson announced England was going into a second lockdown, shoppers also rushed to supermarkets and emptied the shelves.
Brits loaded up trolleys and formed snaking queues outside shops all over the country.
And in March, supermarket shelves were stripped bare as Brits rushed to stock up on essential items before the first lockdown.
Panic-buying forced many supermarkets to introduce widespread rationing for the first time since World War Two.
Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Asda imposed limits of three for all items as Brits stockpiled booze, hand sanitiser and loo roll.
Stats from the first week of March show that Brits spent nearly £60million extra on stockpiling essentials – with an extra £17.6million splurged on toilet roll alone.
Last night, Boris Johnson ordered everyone in England to stay at home until mid-February as he launched an emergency shutdown to try and save Britain's NHS.
In a dramatic escalation in the fight against Covid, the PM ordered the closure of all schools and non-essential shops for at least the next six weeks.
The PM urged Brits to follow the third nationwide lockdown immediately, and once again put Brits under effective house arrest – resurrecting the 'Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives slogan'.
And it was the new variant – which is between 50 and 70 per cent more transmissible – which has forced him to act.
Mr Johnson said people will only be allowed out of their homes to buy essential food and medicine supplies, attend medical appointments, exercise, work if it is critical and cannot be done from home and to provide care for a vulnerable person.
Police will have legal powers to enforce the rules but fines will not be increased despite a drop in compliance.
Free school meals will continue to go to those who need them as schools stay shut, and more laptops will be dished out to kids across the nation who haven't got the ability to learn online at home.
And holidays will effectively be cancelled as people have to legally remain at home.
Nicola Sturgeon yesterday afternoon announced similar lockdown measures in Scotland.
Under the new rules, which came into force at midnight, Scots are ordered to stay at home and schools will remain closed to pupils until February.
Northern Ireland is midway through a six-week shutdown.
Wales has effectively been in a nationwide lockdown since December 20, with Tier 4 restrictions in place.
This comes after the Covid-19 alert level was raised to five – the first time it has hit the highest rating.
It means that without immediate action there is a “material risk” of healthcare services being overwhelmed within three weeks.
The UK recorded 58,784 Covid cases yesterday- its highest ever daily figure – as new infections passed the 50,000 mark for the seventh day in a row.
Cases have remained high for a week now as hospitals struggle to cope with patient numbers – with 407 new deaths yesterday.
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