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Pharmacists told to restrict drugs

Pharmacists have been told to dispense only one month’s worth of prescription medications amid coronavirus panic. 

Panic customers buying up countless drugs to stockpile in their homes have left health officials with no option but to impose the limit. 

Deputy chief medical officer Paul Kelly said that while there was no shortage of medicines, there is a strain on the supply chain.

It comes as Australia reported its sixth coronavirus death, with 636 confirmed cases across the country. 

Customers will also only be allowed to buy one packet each of everyday, over the counter medicines such as ventolin and paracetamol.   

A man wears a face mask (pictured) as a preventative measure against coronavirus at a checkout in a Woolworths supermarket in Coburg, Melbourne on Thursday

A man wears a face mask (pictured) as a preventative measure against coronavirus at a checkout in a Woolworths supermarket in Coburg, Melbourne on Thursday

A man wears a face mask (pictured) as a preventative measure against coronavirus at a checkout in a Woolworths supermarket in Coburg, Melbourne on Thursday

Large crowds of elderly people are seen outside Woolworths in Sunbury on Tuesday (pictured) as panicked shoppers left supermarket shelves bare across Australia

Large crowds of elderly people are seen outside Woolworths in Sunbury on Tuesday (pictured) as panicked shoppers left supermarket shelves bare across Australia

Large crowds of elderly people are seen outside Woolworths in Sunbury on Tuesday (pictured) as panicked shoppers left supermarket shelves bare across Australia

CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 636

New South Wales: 307

Victoria: 149

Queensland: 94

South Australia: 37

Western Australia: 35

Tasmania: 10

Northern Territory: 1 

Australian Capital Territory: 3

TOTAL CASES:  636

DEAD: 6

‘Please do not buy more than you need for anything, whether that’s food and particularly medicines,’ Dr Kelly told reporters in Canberra.

There have been reports of people buying large quantities of these medications over the last few days.

‘I recognise again that people are fearful about issues, particularly those that might affect their own families.

‘But I say again, as the Prime Minister said yesterday about panic buying, please do not buy more than you need.’

Some other essential medicines, such as painkillers for children, will be hidden behind the counter to stop supplies running out. 

It comes as New South Wales health officials revealed it has six coronavirus patients now in intensive care.

Supermarket shelves across the country have been cleared out as people rush to stockpile on items (pictured, a Woolworths in Sydney last week)

Supermarket shelves across the country have been cleared out as people rush to stockpile on items (pictured, a Woolworths in Sydney last week)

Supermarket shelves across the country have been cleared out as people rush to stockpile on items (pictured, a Woolworths in Sydney last week)

Angry Australians had already taken to social media to highlight how some pharmacies have even run out of the essential medication.

‘I am asthmatic and was only allowed one Ventolin and there will be no more supplies until mid-April’ wrote one user.

The Department of Health’s Medicine Shortages Information Initiative website listed ‘VENTOLIN NEBULES’ as ‘limited availability’ in their current supply across the country.  

Coles, Woolworths and Aldi have been forced to introduce limits on basic goods in recent weeks to stop stockpilers buying up all of their supplies. 

Panic buying has also extended t nappies and feminine hygiene products, with shelves empty (pictured) at Coles in Sydney's Rouse Hill

Panic buying has also extended t nappies and feminine hygiene products, with shelves empty (pictured) at Coles in Sydney's Rouse Hill

Panic buying has also extended t nappies and feminine hygiene products, with shelves empty (pictured) at Coles in Sydney’s Rouse Hill

It comes as a six-year-old child was diagnosed with coronavirus in New South Wales.

Six people are in intensive care with coronavirus in Australia’s biggest state, and NSW has 307 coronavirus patients, almost half the national total of 636.

A total of 129 of NSW cases were acquired overseas.

NSW Chief Medical Officer Dr Kerry Chant said today that people are bringing the virus into the state from abroad.

Customers have been stockpiling everyday medicines such as painkillers (stock image) during the coronavirus outbreak

Customers have been stockpiling everyday medicines such as painkillers (stock image) during the coronavirus outbreak

Customers have been stockpiling everyday medicines such as painkillers (stock image) during the coronavirus outbreak

CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 636

New South Wales: 307

Victoria: 149

Queensland: 94

South Australia: 37

Western Australia: 35

Tasmania: 10

Northern Territory: 1 

Australian Capital Territory: 3

TOTAL CASES:  636

DEAD: 6

‘In recent weeks we’re seeing an increasing trend towards returning travellers from the UK, Europe and also the US,’ she said.

She also warned that an infected person could have spread the illness at a function involving the University of Sydney and the University of Queensland.

The function was held at Sydney University Football Ground on 14 March.

‘All people who attended this event are considered close contacts of a confirmed case and we ask that any attendees immediately self-isolate themselves for 14 days,’ she said.

Dr Chant said she wasn’t sure how many people attended the function.

‘It’s clearly a large function. This is very precautionary. And it occurs in a function where we basically can’t really identify very clearly how groups moved around in a space,’ she said.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said it was important for people to ‘maintain social distancing’.

There are now 636 people infected with the disease in Australia as of Thursday afternoon

There are now 636 people infected with the disease in Australia as of Thursday afternoon

There are now 636 people infected with the disease in Australia as of Thursday afternoon

Source: dailymail UK

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