Coronavirus: Supermarkets ration hand sanitiser and pasta to stop panic buying

Supermarkets have placed restrictions on items including hand sanitiser, pasta and anti-bacterial wipes in a bid to stop shoppers from stockpiling in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Shoppers have empties shelves of toilet paper and hand gel in a wave of panic buying, after Public Health England urged members of the public to "plan ahead" if they had to self-isolate for a couple of weeks.

However, the Government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said there is “absolutely no reason” for the British public to panic buy.

Tesco has almost entirely sold out of dried pasta online and has now introduced a five limit number on several items, including anti-bacterial wipes, gels, and long-life milk.

No other supermarket has resorted to rationing food, however the majority are now limiting anti-bacterial gels to two per customer — or have sold out entirely.

Toilet roll was completely sold out in a Waitrose store in London. Credit: PA

A total of 273 people had been diagnosed with coronavirus - an increase of 67 from the 206 cases confirmed at on Sunday - it represents the largest day-on-day increase in diagnoses.

Coronavirus concerns appear to have created an international rush for toilet paper.

Two women have been charged after a fight broke out over toilet roll in an Australian supermarket, with a video of the altercation shared widely online.

Hand sanitiser products were also found to be selling for more than 5,000% their recommended retail price online, with bottles worth 49p selling for £24.99

One eBay listing has seen a second-hand bottle of liquid soap sell for more than £5 — despite being only three-quarters full.

The full list of restrictions at each supermarket is as follows:


  • Five-item limit on a number of items including pasta, anti-bacterial wipes, gels and sprays and long-life milk.

  • Started online on Sunday morning and in stores on Saturday afternoon.

Tesco has almost entirely sold out of dried pasta online. Credit: Tesco/PA


  • Only online at the moment, and only includes restrictions on certain anti-bacterial soaps and wipes.


  • No restrictions on any items at the moment.


  • Has not yet responded, but anti-bacterial hand gel is not available online.

Hand gel was not available to buy online at Aldi. Credit: Aldi/PA


  • Hand sanitiser restricted to two per person both in-store and online.

  • No food restrictions.

  • Many anti-bacterial products out of stock online.

Asda has sold out of the majority of anti-bacterial products. Credit: Asda/PA


  • No limits on any purchases.


  • Did not confirm any restrictions.


  • Has not yet responded, but no limits on products online.

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know