Panic buying has broken out across numerous east London stores as residents stock up on essentials in fear of coronavirus.

The wave of mass-purchasing follows government officials and top scientists advising against panic buying.

At Chingford Costco yesterday morning (March 11) hundreds of shoppers flocked to the store and braved queues over an hour long to buy toilet paper, sanitizer, water, canned foods, rice, pasta and other essentials.

In response to the onslaught, Costco management has limited certain item purchases to one per person.

In Goodmayes Tesco, a similar situation unfolded.

Shelves were emptied as shoppers mass purchased medicines, nappies and food stuffs.

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At Goodmayes Tesco shelves were left empty. Photo: Wilson Chowdhry

Last week, speaking on BBC’s Question Time, Mr Hancock urged people not stock up on supplies and buy "more than they need", saying there was "absolutely no need" for it.

He said: “The Government has supplies of the key things that are needed, and, within the food supply, we are absolutely confident that there won’t be a problem there.

“And, crucially, we are working to makes sure that if people are self isolating, they will be able to get the food and supplies that they need.”

He added: “The very, very strong advice from the scientists, from the medics, is that people should not go buying more than they need.”

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Costco placed purchasing restrictions on certain items. Photo: Wilson Chowdhry

The government's chief scientific advisor, Sir Patrick Vallance has also advised everyone remain calm.

He said: "I think the advice is that there is absolutely no reason to be doing any panic buying of any sort or going out and keeping large supplies of things."

Chigwell resident, Wilson Chowdhry, was at Costco yesterday morning to purchase supplies for a meals for homeless project.

He said: “Even people who are more sensible about the current Covid-19 situation are being forced to reciprocate the panic-buying because of fear they will miss out.”

Several national stores have introduced measures to counter panic-buying.

Tesco has limited shoppers to buying no more than five of certain goods, including anti-bacterial gels, wipes and sprays, dry pasta, UHT milk and some tinned vegetables.

Waitrose has introduced a temporary cap on some items on its website, including some anti-bacterial soaps and wipes.

Boots and Asda are both restricting some types of hand sanitiser to two bottles per person.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Worried shoppers have stocked up on basics such as pasta and rice. Photo: Wilson Chowdhry

Juliet Chowdhry, who was greeted by empty shelves at Goodmayes Tesco on Wednesday, said panic buying made “no sense.”

“People need to be reassured by the Government and health organisations,” she said. “People simply need to regain perspective and not cram-purchase.

“The thoughtless hoarding of many will leave others vulnerable.”

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