Supermarkets in Italy are running out of food amidst panic buying by the local residents, who have been put under a two-week quarantine, in the country's effort to contain the spread of the novel strain of the deadly coronavirus - COVID 19.
Outside supermarkets, locals who had to take prior permission from authorities were seen lining up and were allowed to enter 40 people at a time. Many videos that have emerged online showed locals wearing masks stocking up as much as food as possible.
The shoppers, however, emptied all the food shelves of pasta, tinned good and bottles of water. Panic buying has continued, while many complaining that they have been running out of food.
Another video has emerged of a spat between two shoppers in the supermarket at Lidl in the town of Casalpusterlengo. Meanwhile, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has assured that the country will soon contain the spread of the virus. And there was no need to panic, Conte said referring to the reports of food shortage.
Italy under lockdown
Reports have now emerged that till now 11 people have died and 325 have been tested positive for the highly contagious coronavirus strain. The epicenter of the outbreak is in northern Italy, where a hospital in Codogno contributed to the deadly virus' spread.
The Codogno was the first city to be put under lockdown, which now has been extended to 10 more regions in the province. The restrictions affect about 100,000 people.
While most of the cases have been reported from Lombardy and Veneto, there were additional cases in Emilia-Romagna, Piedmont and Lazio.
The large scale spread of the virus has put Italy on the defensive, which has introduced sweeping measures to contain the virus.
Police personnel are patrol day and night in 11 towns – mostly in the Lombardy region, where the first locally transmitted case emerged – that have been in lockdown since February 21.
The residents in the towns have been told to stay home and avoid social contact, while schools, shops, and businesses – apart from chemists – have been shut down. Army personnel also have been deployed on the outskirts to ensure that no one is allowed to either go out or enter the quarantined zones.