Wed. Dec 7th, 2022


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Panic buyers stockpile lettuce as France shuts border with UK over Covid strain

4 min read

Panic buyers slumped to a desperate new low – by stock-piling LETTUCE!

France's decision to shut its borders with the UK to stave off a new fast-spreading Covid strain sparked fears of a salad shortage.

That was enough to send hoarders haring to the supermarket to stock up.

The lettuce rush was just the tip of the Icebergs.

Oranges and lemons were also flying off the shelves amid fears the haulage ban could cut off supplies of citrus fruit from mainland Europe.

That prompted Britain's toilet paper manufacturers to act in a bid to repel a comeback by bog roll bandits who stripped shelves of their supplies during Lockdown 1 in March.

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They stressed UK factories were making 4.5 million rolls a day, stock levels had been increased ahead of Brexit and there was absolutely no need' to hoard loo paper as Brits have piles.

Supermarket giants Sainsbury's could not give the same assurance over supplies of salad leaves and citrus fruit – though bemused bosses said they could not see why festive diners would want to stock up on lettuce. Stores were stocked full of traditional Christmas grub.

A Sainsbury's spokesman said: "All products for the Great British Christmas lunch are already in the country and we have plenty of these.

"If nothing changes we will start to see gaps over the coming days on lettuce, some salad leaves, cauliflowers, broccoli and citrus fruits all of which are imported from the continent at this time of year.''

Meanwhile the UK's leading loo paper manufacturer Essity – which makes a host of top brands including Velvet, Cushelle and Cosy – urged customers not to panic.

Communication manager Gareth Lucy told the Daily Star: "We’re in a healthy position with toilet tissue stock.

"UK production remains high for us with seven UK sites producing around 4.5m rolls per day which all remains in the UK marketplace. "In addition our Brexit preparations mean that we’ve increased stock levels of most products in readiness.

"So the message is that there is absolutely no need to stockpile toilet tissue.

"Take some for yourself and leave the rest on the shelf."

Panic-buyers were spooked by the sight of thousands of Europe-bound lorries stranded in Kent after turning up at Dover on Monday to be greeted with signs saying: “French borders closed.”

France shut down the border in a bid to prevent a new coronavirus strain detected in south-east Britain from reaching the continent.

The move triggered 23-mile queues around Dover which 10,000 lorries-a-day pass through. More than 40 countries – including Spain, Russia and India – barred UK flights while Ireland laid on planes to fly citizens home.

Sources said the lorry ban may last until Christmas Eve with French president Emmanuel Macron insisting truckers test negative for Covid before being allowed to cross the Channel.

Boris Johnson stressed the delays wereonly occurring at Dover' and impacted just human-handled freight' which represents 20% of the total arriving from or going to the European continent.

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The PM hinted at frustration at the French stance as he said the coronavirus risk posed by a single driver in a lorry was really very low'.

Alex Veitch, general manager at Logistics UK formerly known as the Freight Transport Association – said he was genuinely not worried' about food shortages and urged people not to panic-buy.

Peter Denby, managing director of Lincoln-based haulage firm Denby Transport, said: “Not being able to ship for 48 hours is a bit of a problem although we have probably dropped a bit lucky because it is Christmas.

“We didn't have anyone scheduled to go out on Sunday or Monday.''

Yesterday chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance predicted there would be a spike in coronavirus casesover the next few weeks' after an inevitable period of mixing' over Christmas.

He said a meeting of Nervtag – aka the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Group -reinforced the view' that the Covid was transmitting more readily' but the existing vaccine was still likely to suppress it.

"It doesn't – as far as we can see – alter the course of the disease and the work in terms of the immune response is ongoing but there's no reason to suspect at the moment that there's a change there,” he added.

"It's important to get ahead of this and to make sure that the tiering system is adequate to stop things going and not to watch it and react in retrospect. Given that we're entering a period of inevitable mixing I think there will be some increases in numbers over the next few weeks."

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