Community leader appeals for calm as shoppers strip shelves of cleaning items in preparation for Coronavirus

Shoppers are buying up soap and pain killers at major supermarkets

Shoppers are buying up soap and pain killers at major supermarkets - Credit: Archant

A community leader has appealed to members of the public not to panic about the rise in the number of Coronavirus cases.

Dr Chan Abraham, from Huntingdon, said it was more likely that anxiety caused by the extreme focus on the outbreak of virus is going to make people ill, rather than actually contracting Covid-19 itself.

Dr Abraham said: “We are facing, what is being built as the biggest crisis of our time.

“But people are actually going to get ill through the panic and anxiety rather than the illness.

“February 10 was the worst day, when 108 people died in China of the Coronavirus. But it is a very small number when you compare this to the number of people who die from cancer worldwide every day, which is, 28,283.

“The Coronavirus is still a very serious issue, but more people are likely to fall ill with flu or a virus rather than the Coronavirus.

“We want people to be in good health, but that starts with them being emotionally well.

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“I want to put an appeal out there to local government, the health service and media, to give good and reasonable information to the public.

And as people across the country strip supermarket shelves of soap, hand sanitiser and painkillers, Dr Abraham added: “I would like the government to actively discourage the public from panicking and stockpiling.

“If people start to purchase too much food and soap then it is going to put more pressure on delivery drivers and manufacturers to create them, which could also cause them to get stressed and feel unwell.”

The number of Coronavirus cases has now risen to more than 300 in the UK and there have been six deaths.

An emergency Government Cobra meeting took place on Monday where Boris Johnson said: “The UK will remain in the “containment” stage of its response to the Coronavirus.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that a bill to help tackle the outbreak would be “temporary and proportionate.”

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning group (CCG) has said in a statement that the risk to the general public was “moderate” but it wanted to reassure patients that safety was a “top priority” and people are encouraged to attend all health appointments as usual.