Sales of hand sanitiser restricted by chemist chain amid coronavirus outbreak

The coronavirus outbreak has led chemist chain Boots to limit the sale of hand sanitiser amid concerns its products could be sold for inflated prices online.

A spokeswoman for the company said it had seen an increase in the sale of hand sanitisers, but it still had stock available in its warehouses for online sale and in its stores.

She also confirmed that there is currently a limit of two hand sanitisers per customer to ensure as many people as possible have access to the products.

The PA news agency understands that Boots is concerned some of its products could be re-sold online.

The company has seen protective products of the kind it sells, for example face masks, appear on websites such as Amazon at prices far greater than those retailed by Boots.

On Twitter, users have shared photos of empty shelves in Boots branches as well as images revealing a shortage of hygiene products in some supermarkets.

Coronavirus
Shelves at a Sainsbury’s supermarket in Cambridge revealing a shortage of hand sanitiser (Joe Giddens/PA)

They also posted photos of signs in Boots stores warning customers of the limit on hand sanitiser.

In the House of Commons on Tuesday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock was questioned on dwindling supplies of hand sanitising gel and whether the UK will have enough supplies of paracetamol.

He said: “Our no-deal planning and our no-deal stockpiles are playing an important part in making sure we are fully prepared and ready.”

Sales of hand sanitiser in supermarkets more than tripled last month as worried customers flocked to protect themselves from coronavirus.

Sales soared by 255% during February, according to new data from Kantar Worldpanel.

Meanwhile, liquid soap sales increased 7% and household cleaning products rose 10%.

Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, said: “Sales of hand sanitiser have risen as individuals and businesses make sensible precautions to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

“Retailers are also taking necessary steps to meet the rise in demand for certain hygiene products.”

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