Coronavirus update: Defra secretary George Eustice asks people to be responsible when shopping

Published by Ross Hindle on March 21st 2020, 3:03pm

In today's coronavirus briefing -- which aired at around 2PM -- Defra secretary George Eustice appeared alongside Helen Dickinson, CEO of the British Retail Consortium, and Stephen Powis, the national medical director of NHS England.

Mr Eustice begun the conference by asking people to "think of those who are finishing their late shifts" and said that "buying more means that others may be left without".

He said that every cirtizen in the UK needed to "play their part" too, and that everyone should respect the product rationing measures that most major supermarkets have imposed.

He also said that there had been a "significant switch" in the number of people buying from supermarkets as pubs, bars, and restaurants have all been closed. The estimate, according to Mr Eustice, is that £1 billion worth of extra food has been "stockpiled" in people's homes as a result of panic buying.

Mr Eustice and Mrs Dickinson also both agreed that retailer policies on limiting items would make the most difference in this situation, with Mr Eustice stating that the government would not intervene in that arena just yet.

Both of them, however, reassured the public that the spike in demand was something the food supply chain was "used to".

Elsewhere in the world, the death toll has passed 11,000 worldwide, Sydney has closed its famous beaches and Singapore reports its first two deaths.

The next Leaders Council update will follow tomorrow.

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Authored By

Ross Hindle
Content Director
March 21st 2020, 3:03pm

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