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Shops in Maidstone sell out of hand sanitiser as first Kent case of coronavirus confirmed

These are some of the empty shelves in stores across Maidstone after people raced to buy hand sanitiser.

It comes as the town saw its first case of Covid-19.

Superdrug in The Mall shopping centre has sold out of hand sanitiser
Superdrug in The Mall shopping centre has sold out of hand sanitiser

Public Health England confirmed a worker at The Maidstone Studios in Vinters Park had tested positive for the virus since returning from Italy.

Staff at the studios told business on site they are monitoring the situation carefully and advised some people to self-isolate as a precaution.

The worker has been taken to a specialist infection centre in London.

While some businesses carried on as normal, some people living in nearby flats decided to pack up and move out temporarily.

Poundland, Boots, Superdrug, and Wilkinson's in The Mall shopping centre have all sold out of hand gel. Boots has even limited the sale to two per customer.

Empty shelves in Tesco, Grove Green
Empty shelves in Tesco, Grove Green

The Tesco store in Grove Green, near to the studios has empty shelves where the product is usually found.

The Lloyds Pharmacy next to Tesco has also been out of hand sanitiser since Friday. Staff said more should be arriving tomorrow.

Pam Bland, from Maidstone, has been shopping at the Tesco store on Grovewood Drive North. She says the situation makes her a little bit anxious.

"It's a very sad situation and I feel very sorry for those who have already been contaminated," she told KentOnline.

"I've got two grown up grandchildren so I shall be having a chat with them. Whether they'll take any notice of me I don't know."

Shopper Beth McHale was at the supermarket on a "hand sanitiser run" after her mum told her to go out and get some.

"My mum is cooped up at her home with hand sanitiser. She’s 65 and she’s more susceptible to the virus. It does make you a bit nervous."

Miss McHale has an 11-year-old son who goes to Valley Park School in Maidstone.

"My son goes to a school with 3,000 pupils in a small area. I will just wait to see what the health officials say.

"Valley Park has already sent out some information over the past few weeks about making sure our children wash their hands.”

Mother-of-two, Beverly Nankervis, from Ringlestone, has been shopping in the store and says she feels people will start to panic.

"You can't really go mad and buy tonnes and tonnes of stuff because if it's going to happen," she said.

"We just need to be vigilant and encourage our children to wash their hands as usual.

"As a parent it does freak me out a little but what can you do?"

Elsewhere, a number of pupils at a Kent school are in isolation and a theatre cancelled a stage show tonight as tests are carried out on cast members linked to the county's first confirmed coronavirus case.

Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone

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