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Panic buying on wane as online shopping takes over, says bank | Business

There is an early sign that supermarket panic buying may be on the wane, if figures from the online bank Starling are an accurate guide to how shoppers are behaving.

The bank, which has 1.25 million UK account holders, said transactions in supermarkets peaked two weekends ago and had been falling since.

“Our data suggests that the panic buying seen in the UK’s supermarkets over recent weekends peaked two weeks ago on Saturday 14 March, with the number of transactions on that day up about 15% compared to pre-virus levels. Over the weekend of 21-22 March transaction volumes fell back to levels seen before the crisis.”

Symptoms are defined by the NHS as either:

  • a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
  • a new continuous cough – this means you’ve started coughing repeatedly

NHS advice is that anyone with symptoms should stay at home for at least 7 days.

If you live with other people, they should stay at home for at least 14 days, to avoid spreading the infection outside the home.

After 14 days, anyone you live with who does not have symptoms can return to their normal routine. But, if anyone in your home gets symptoms, they should stay at home for 7 days from the day their symptoms start. Even if it means they’re at home for longer than 14 days.

If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days.

If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.

After 7 days, if you no longer have a high temperature you can return to your normal routine.

If you still have a high temperature, stay at home until your temperature returns to normal.

If you still have a cough after 7 days, but your temperature is normal, you do not need to continue staying at home. A cough can last for several weeks after the infection has gone.

Staying at home means you should:

  • not go to work, school or public areas
  • not use public transport or taxis
  • not have visitors, such as friends and family, in your home
  • not go out to buy food or collect medicine – order them by phone or online, or ask someone else to drop them off at your home

You can use your garden, if you have one. You can also leave the house to exercise – but stay at least 2 metres away from other people.

If you have symptoms of coronavirus, use the NHS 111 coronavirus service to find out what to do.

Source: NHS England on 23 March 2020

The bank’s data also shows how rapidly the country has shifted to online shopping. It said that on Tuesday 24 March online shopping outstripped all other forms of spending for the first time.

“Online purchases made by Starling customers, which usually amount to less than a third of the total number of transactions each day, had already reached 40.4% on the eve of the government lockdown, before hitting 51.5% the day after on 24 March.”

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The bank also noted how the UK went into voluntary lockdown thebefore government measures were implemented. It said sales in pubs and restaurants were already down by 40% in the week before most were closed.

“These are early days, but it’s clear that people’s spending behaviour is already changing quite dramatically,” a spokesperson for the bank said. “The sharp rise in online shopping suggests that people are listening to the government and staying indoors.”

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