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Supermarkets run out of sanitisers as panicky Kenyans stock up

Hand sanitisers became the first casualty of the confirmation of a first coronavirus case in Kenya as panicky Kenyans moved swiftly to stock up.

An hour after Health CS Mutahi Kagwe announced the confirmed case, major supermarkets across the city were experiencing an acute shortage of hand sanitisers as Kenyans rushed to purchase the commodity.

Naivas Supermarket along Kenyatta Avenue had depleted its stock of sanitisers by 10am. A staff attendant at the supermarket said the situation was replicated in all their branches in the CBD.

The only thing remaining on the shelves were hand wash. Washing of hands has been touted as a more effective way of dealing with the spread of the virus -the use of a sanitiser is only encouraged where one cannot access running water and liquid soap.

“Hand sanitisers were bought all by 10 in the morning. It is the same in all the other Naivas stores. Our supplier has not been able to deliver the product due to the high demand,” said a staff who requested anonymity.

Staff attendants

At Tuskys Supermarket, the situation was the same. Staff attendants whose work is to arrange items on shelves were tasked with delivering the disappointing news, “the supermarket has run out of Hand sanitisers.”

“When we opened what everyone was buying was hand sanitisers, customers were not picking just one or two but a whole bunch of them. One customer just stretched his hand inside the shelf and just pushed all the hand sanitisers into his cart and said he will count them at the counter,” said Jane Maina, an attendant.

Ishmael was among Kenyans in the supermarket who were frantically looking for a hand sanitiser at the time Nairobi News did a spot check. He said he had been to more than five supermarkets and he still was unable to get one.

“Five supermarkets across the city and hakuna, I think we will now start using spirit,” he said to a friend of his as they hurried to go to the mosque.

Carrefour supermarket has limited its customers in taking only two bottles of hand sanitizers per person.