Matt Hancock the health secretary has claimed talks have been held with supermarket chiefs to supply groceries to those who are self-isolating.
However, supermarket chiefs have rubbished the governments claims as “fanciful, bogus and misleading.”
Supermarkets have said they do not have enough vehicles and drivers to cope with a spike in demand, and have suggested the British Army to be called in to help.
A retail executive source said, “Currently the share of groceries bought online is about 6 or 7% across all supermarkets.
“There are enough vans and infrastructure to supply that 7%. More could be switched on over time but it’s not like flicking a switch.”
Bruno who is a senior industry analyst and a former Tesco executive said, “online delivery slots will be swallowed up very quickly.”
But, the health secretary claims the government are “absolutely confident there won’t be a problem” with the UK’s food supply.
Monteyne said, “there is a limited capacity for home delivery. So very soon it will probably be near-impossible to get a delivery slot.
‘If we really get to a bad outbreak with major staff shortages, I think there will be a case to be made that the drivers will be better utilised in keeping the shelves full and supporting the core operation of feeding the nation.”
He further questioned the safety of delivery drivers who could be delivering to households infected with coronavirus.
He said, “How responsible is it for a self-isolating person to get a driver to deliver to him?
‘Why put the person that feeds you at risk of getting the virus?”
A former Tesco executive, Bruno Monteyne gave a stark warning that a major outbreak of the virus will lead to “empty shelves and riots.”
On Friday, the Environment Secretary George Eustice had an urgent conference call with retailers.
Eustice said “They reassured me they have well-established contingency plans and are taking all necessary steps to ensure consumers have the food and supplies they need.
“Retailers are continuing to monitor their supply chains and have robust plans in place to minimise disruption.
“I will be convening a further meeting with industry, retailers and public sector organisations early next week to discuss support for vulnerable groups who may be in isolation.”
However, with panic buying many supermarkets shelves are empty of many supplies as they are struggling to keep up with demand as shoppers are stocking up on food and other items for fear of being quarantined for many months as coronavirus outbreak is getting worse.