Coronavirus: Should we be stockpiling food and medicine as two new cases confirmed in UK?

Two new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the UK, bringing the total number of cases up to 15. The cases have been transferred to specialist NHS infection centres in Liverpool and London, the Department of Health announced. It’s believed the virus was passed on while they were in Italy and Tenerife – two places which have seen recetn surges of outbreaks.


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The virus has now been reported in every continent except Antartica – 81,829 cases have been confirmed worldwide, with the majority of cases being in mainland China.

Fears over coronavirus spreading through Europe have been growing, with 453 cases now reported in Italy.

Some countries are being advised to prepare for a coronavirus pandemic.

Health Minister Patty Had has been encouraging Canadians to stockpile food and medication in their homes in case they or a loved one falls ill from the virus.

Many people on social media have suggested stockpiling vitamin C supplements, tinned food and bottled water.

With two new cases in the UK and health officials warning the number of cases will most likely rise, should Britons be thinking about stockpiling food and medicines?

Dr Richard Dawood from Fleet Street Clinic advised “At the moment, the number of cases are incredibly small, so there is no need to stockpile or to do anything out out of the ordinary.”

A scientist has echoed this advice, saying people shouldn’t panic buy or hoard, but released a list of items to collect in case coronavirus is declared a pandemic.

Virologist Ian Mackay, Associate Professor at the University of Queensland, Australia, wrote in a blog post: “Now is a great time to make a list, label up a ‘pandemic stash’ box, and begin to slowly fill it with items that won’t go off and that you won’t touch unless needed.”

Writing on his Virology Down Under website, said if more cases appear and can’t be traced back to known chains of transmission, the “the efforts in some countries to contain COVID-19 [the name of the virus] will have failed”.

He added: “At some point, we’ll be in the main phase of a pandemic.”

Ian emphasised a pandemic doesn’t necessarily men the virus is severe, but that it denotes a pathogen that has spread widely within two or more countries other than the first one to report it.


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He also suggested while some things are out of the control of the average person, people can reduce their risk of being infected by cutting the chance of running out of essential foods and goods.

His list includes extra prescription drugs and over-the-counter fever and pain medicines, feminine hygiene products, toilet paper and tissues, and vitamins “in case food shortages limit the variety in your diet”.

He also advised buying items including soap, alcohol hand rub and household cleaning products.

When it comes to food, Ian suggested buying cereals, grains, beans, lentils and pasta, tinned foods such as fish, vegetables and fruit, oil, spices and other flavourings, dried fruit and nuts, powdered milk, items for pets, as well as soft drinks, sweets and chocolate for treats.

He urged people to also consider the needs of elderly relatives.

Ian also provided a list of items to be used in the event of a “severe” pandemic, in which case access to fresh foods might be cut.

The products “should be the last things to buy if you have a hint of when supplies might slow or stop for a (hopefully short) time.”

These include bread and wraps, meat for freezing, milk, eggs, yoghurt, and fruit and vegetables.

Car fuel should also be bought at this time.

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