HUNDREDS of elderly and vulnerable people have got up at the crack of dawn and queued in the rain to beat "panic buyers".

Many shelves at supermarkets across Southampton and the surrounding areas have been stripped bare by people worried by the Coronavirus outbreak.

This has left many pensioners and vulnerable people short of food and supplies.

Daily Echo:

However, for the first hour of trading, supermarkets including Sainsbury's and Iceland opened their doors just for people over 60-years-old and those with disabilities.

This morning, reporters from the Daily Echo spoke to people as they waited for the doors at Sainsbury's in Lordshill to open at 7am.

Elderly shoppers complained of the chaos bulk-buying had caused and how they struggled to buy everyday items.

One woman who wished to remain unnamed said: "I can't understand what's going on.

"It's disgusting. I have a disabled brother who I look after and it's absolutely awful. I am shopping for him.

"I think supermarkets should limit a shoppers to buying two of each items a week.

"People are being selfish. More than 5,000 people die of flu each year. China seems to be getting over it."

Daily Echo:

Another pensioner from Romsey added: "I am shopping for me my wife. My wife is a carer for a 103-year-old woman.

"I have queued since 6.20am. I don't want to bulk-buy I want to do my normal shopping.

"As a couple we have not been able to shop properly for three weeks.

Also queuing today (Thursday) was Southampton resident, John Goodey, who is "lucky to be alive".

Daily Echo:

Despite the Coronavirus crisis, the pensioner says we have to accept what we have and get on with life.

Last spring a tree crashed into John's house coming within inches of crushing him and his wife Joan, 82.

Shattered glass and broken debris covered the couples' back garden.

Meanwhile their roof and upstairs bedrooms were seriously damaged.

The couple married for 40-years were made homeless but have since returned to their house in Dunkirk Road.

This morning John, 76, was smiling and happy.