A customer has described being sprayed with disinfectant before being allowed into Costco to do their shopping in south London.
They filmed as a queue formed outside the store in Croydon before a worker sprayed trollies as they entered.
Costco has said only trolley handles were sprayed – not customers. The person filming claimed there were no signs detailing what was happening but that people ‘lined up obediently’ anyway.
The video emerged following confirmation that the first person in the UK – a woman in her 70s with underlying health conditions – had died of the disease.
The Royal Berkshire NHS Trust said the patient had been ‘in and out of hospital’ for other reasons but was admitted on Wednesday evening to hospital in Reading and tested positive.
Across the UK, there have now been 116 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with Downing Street warning it is ‘highly likely’ the virus will spread ‘in a significant way’.
The Costco customer who filmed the spray down described it as a ‘peculiar situation’, telling MailOnline: ‘By the time I reached the top of the line I noticed the security guard/sales assistant had a translucent canister and he was spraying everyone as they walked in.
‘You would show your card and then receive a squirt of whatever was in there and then you would get a tissue.’
He said a bin was set up for people to drop the used tissues into and claimed he questioned Costco staff over whether the measures were in place due to coronavirus, to which they said ‘yes’.
The customer – who has not been named – added: ‘Nobody seemed to question what was happening and everyone was just lining up obediently.
‘The liquid was more fluid than hand sanitiser and it felt more water-based, it had a smell of disinfectant.’
Once inside, shoppers were limited to two tissue-based products each and hand sanitser and anti-bacterial products were also rationed, amid nationwide ‘panic buying’.
Health secretary Matt Hancock has reassured the public that supermarkets will not run out of food and supplies as he urged shoppers not to stockpile.
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.
‘Crucially, we are working to make sure that if people are self isolating, they will be able to get the food and supplies that they need.’
It comes as pictures continue to emerge from shops and pharamacies showing empty shelves in aisles stocking toiletries, paracetemol, toilet roll and dried foods like rice and pasta.
Andrew Opie, Director of Food & Sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, told Metro.co.uk earlier this week: ‘Disruption to supply chains has been limited, and the availability of products remains good.
‘Retailers are working closely with their suppliers and monitoring consumer behaviour to anticipate changes in future demand.
‘Retailers are also taking necessary steps to meet the rise in demand for certain hygiene products.’
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