March 13, 2020 / 10:19 AM / 25 days ago

Pasta, toilet paper and flour sold out in some London supermarkets

LONDON, March 13 (Reuters) - An increasing number of supermarket shelves in London were empty on Friday as people rushed to buy pasta, toilet paper, flour and frozen food after the government ordered people with coronavirus to isolate themselves.

Lidl in Hackney had no pasta, toilet paper, flour, tinned fish or oil on Thursday night. Sainsbury’s in Charlton had neither pasta nor toilet paper on Friday. Waitrose in the Canary Wharf financial district had neither pasta nor toilet paper on Thursday night.

British supermarket bosses have urged people not to panic and said that they can keep shelves stocked but anecdotal evidence from across London indicates many people are hoarding basics.

British supermarket group Morrisons said on Friday it planned to pay its smaller suppliers within 48 hours to help them get through the outbreak.

The British government has faced questions over why it is not yet taking the more stringent measures seen in many other countries. Prime Minister Boris Johnson defended his approach, saying the government was following scientific advice and would “do the right thing at the right time”. (Reporting by William James, Michael Holden, Huw Jones, James Davey and Ben Dangerfield; writing by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Kate Holton)

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