Asda has joined the list of supermarkets to restrict the number of items customers can buy amidst panic buying in the coronavirus pandemic.

Britain's grocery industry has struggled for over a week to keep shelves stocked in the face of stockpiling, which worsened on Tuesday despite weekend appeals for calm from supermarket bosses and politicians.

The supermarket chain's chief executive Roger Burnley said in a letter online that Asda has “implemented a limit on the number of items that can be purchased to make sure everyone can get what they need”.

Asda has also made the decision to temporarily close 24-hour stores between midnight and 6am to better assist with restocking shelves, in a similar move to Tesco.

The Co-operative convenience chain – which has 2,600 stores across the UK – has also  introduced restrictions for the first time for the most popular products. Shoppers will be able to buy no more than two each of hand sanitiser, soap, antibacterial wipes, toilet and kitchen roll, pasta, rice, Long Life milk, sugar and also baby milk, baby food, nappies and wipes.

Aldi became the first UK grocer to introduce rationing, limiting customers to buying four items of any one product during each visit.

Glasgow Times: Asda sales

Tesco has introduced from Wednesday a purchase limit of three units of items on all its products - botn in store and online.  Paracetamol and toilet roll will have a limit of two per customer.

 Asda has introduced a limit of three items while Iceland will only open to elderly, vulnerable and disabled shoppers on Wednesday mornings.

Sainsbury's announced it is closing its in-store meat, fish and pizza counters and cafes from tomorrow to free up lorry and warehouse capacity, as well as shelf-stacking time, for essential items to be replenished.

People will be restricted to only buying three of any single grocery item at Sainsbury's, in addition to a two-item limit on the most popular goods such as toilet paper and long-life milk which is already in place. From March 23, disabled customers and those over 70 will take priority for online delivery slots.

Morrisons has rationing of 1,250 itmes including cleaning, health and beauty products.

Mr Burnley said:"I wanted to personally reassure you that we are working really hard to keep our shelves stocked and serving your community."

The grocer is “working around the clock” to try keep products available, including hand sanitizer, cleaning products and baby formula.

Glasgow Times:

“I’d also ask that you try to shop responsibly and not buy more than you need so that everyone, including the vulnerable, have access to the essentials.”

Asda is also going to temporarily close its cafes and pizza counters to “free up room for colleagues” in its warehouses and keep shelves stocked.

Mr Burnley asked shoppers to be patient with colleagues “as they try to do their very best during these unprecedented times”.

He also asked its cleaners to focus on cleaning more frequently in “high traffic areas”.

Asda said its demand for online shopping has increased and asked shoppers to be flexible in delivery or collection times.

A Co-op spokesman said: "Demand for food and drink has risen, as well as for products such as hand sanitiser, antibacterial soap and wipes, and toilet roll. We are temporarily limiting purchases on certain products to a maximum of two per customer to maintain stocks and choice for all our customers. We are working with suppliers to maintain stock levels in store and offer choice to our customers."