Toilet Paper Hoarding, Empty Shelves & Crashing Delivery Websites as UK Goes Into New Lockdown
On Tuesday, the United Kingdom reported a record number of new COVID-19 cases (60,916), many of which are believed to be attributed to a new strain of coronavirus. PM Boris Johnson announced the night before that England would enter an overreaching national lockdown, forbidding people to leave the household for non-essential purposes.
Websites and apps for major UK retailers nearly crashed on Monday evening as Britons rushed to have food delivered after Prime Minister Johnson locked down England over a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Similar measures were introduced in Scotland by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, and Wales and Northern Ireland also remained under the highest level of anti-coronavirus restrictions, prompting consumers across the UK to start panic buying both online and offline.
Photos shared on social media show empty shelves in kingdom’s biggest supermarket chains, Tesco and Sainsbury’s, as people were seen stocking up on toilet paper, bread, vegetables and fruits in expectation of weeks-long lockdown that was signed into law on Wednesday midnight, effectively prohibiting citizens to leave their houses for non-urgent purposes.
According to the UK government website, shopping for “basic necessities” is still allowed under the newly-introduced restrictions and supermarket bosses urged customers not to go bananas stockpiling food and wipers.
However, it was reported on Tuesday that the Tesco and Sainsbury’s apps experienced some serious issues, as owners of the last one were forced to limit access to food delivery due to high demand.
The online retailer Ocado showed some massive queuing for customers, with thousands of people rushing to the app to secure delivery of groceries for the future.
That didn't take long! Ocado: you are 14,222 in the queue. pic.twitter.com/VTAWt5Dvt0
— Jonathan Stott (@jonathan_stott) January 4, 2021
The new national lockdown is England – the third since the coronavirus pandemic kicked in – is expected to last until mid-February, with people urged to stay home for most of the time, with the exception of once-per-day exercise activity, shopping for essentials, seeking medical assistance and going to work that requires physical presence. Schools and colleges across the country will remain open only for vulnerable kids and critical workers, with others required to study online.
Meanwhile, the Scottish lockdown, which also forbids outdoor gatherings and requires people to work from home, is expected to last until at least the end of January.
On Tuesday, the United Kingdom registered nearly 61,000 coronavirus cases – the record figures since the pandemic started in March. Many of these new infections have been linked to a new variant of coronavirus, which is believed to be more transmittable although not necessarily more dangerous or lethal.