TWO shops in Romsey have placed restrictions on hand sanitisers in a bid to prevent shoppers from stockpiling amid coronavirus fears.

Now customers will only be able to buy two hand sanitisers each day from Boots and Superdrug, The Hundred, as the number of patients diagnosed positive for the virus climbed to eight in Hampshire at the weekend.

A sign in Boots reads: "Hand sanitisers are currently limited to two customers per day.

"Help us to support as many people as possible to keep their hands clean this winter."

A sign in Superdrug states hand sanitisers are "limited to two customers per day", while stressing they want to "support as many customers as possible" by helping them keep their hands clean.

Cllr Nick Adams-King, who represents Blackwater on the borough council, said: "It seems sensible to me, because people have been overreacting to this and there is more than enough hand sanitiser to go around as long as people do it responsibly.

"People who go into shops and buy enormous amounts are not being responsible and the risk for 80 percent of us will be we are a bit poorly.

"If people have been selfish by buying large amounts they actually deprive others and therefore create a greater risk for some people and that is irresponsible, so shops have the right to do this."

Cllr Janet Burnage, who represents Romsey Cupernham on the borough council, said: "It is very reasonable for the shops to do this, we have been advised there is plenty available and that the excess purchasing is leading to the shortage.

"There are people who cannot easily get out to the shops and they need to know when they get there they can purchase what they need."

She added: "Hand washing is the most important and then the use of hand sanitiser, so on this basis there need not be such a shortage."

A spokesperson for Superdrug said: “We can confirm we have seen an increase in customer demand for personal care products such as hand sanitisers, hand wash and hand wipes.

"We are working hard with our suppliers to replenish stock back into our stores and online as quickly as possible; we are receiving deliveries almost daily.

"To ensure that as many of our customers as possible can keep their hands clean, we have taken the decision to limit the sale of hand sanitisers to two per customer.

"We would advise all customers to follow the advice of Public Health England and concentrate on hand washing for at least 20 seconds.”

Boots has been contacted for comment.

Doctor Susan Hopkins, Public Health England’s COVID-19 incident director, said: “Public Health England is not advising people to stockpile.

"Our advice is to live your life as normal but wash your hands more often, and do start to think about how the spread of coronavirus might impact your life over the next few weeks.

“The government has a clear action plan to tackle this virus and we need everyone to do what they can to help stop the spread.”

This comes as the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus in the UK, as of 9am on Monday, March 9, rose to 319.

So far four patients in the UK have died from the virus, which originally broke out in China.