Supermarkets plead with shoppers to stop panic buying

Panic buying on a mass scale.

Here in Britain, food retailers have appealed to shoppers to stop buying more than they need during the coronavirus outbreak.

An open letter they published in national newspapers on Sunday said shoppers buying more than they need means that others will be left without.

Social media's been awash with pictures of empty shelves in major supermarkets -- and items such as dried pasta and toilet rolls are particularly sought after.

The government says it's confident food supplies are secure, but that everyone must act responsibly.

The sight of empty shelves and packed shops seemingly being played out globally from France, to Jordan, to Mexico.

In the United States, consumer product companies halted factory runs of niche items in order to speed up production of more basic merchandise which is in high demand.

Brick-and-mortar retailers have warned that hoarding is fueling shortages.

And even online - retailers such as Amazon are sold out of many household items.

President Trump held a phone call on Sunday (March 15) with 30 executives from grocery stores.

While the administration says supply lines are 'working pretty well', some major U.S. retailers have set restrictions on purchases of toilet paper, sanitizing wipes and other in-demand products.

And as factories move to round-the-clock operations - not every product will be on store shelves.

Instead, focus is shifting to the highest priority items to address an unprecedented surge in demand.

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