TESCO has introduced tighter purchasing restrictions as panic buyers continue to strip supermarket shelves amid coronavirus fears.

Dave Lewis, Tesco CEO, has announced that "significant and prolonged" increases in demand across their stores is leading to shortages in some products for some customers.

Tesco, from today (Thursday) are introducing a store-wide restriction of only three items per customer on every product line, and removing multi-buy promotions.

All meat, fish, deli counters and salad bars are also closing until further notice.

To ensure stores are clean and staff have time to replenish stock and rest, their trading hours will also change with shops closing at 10pm.

To ensure more vulnerable and elderly customers can shop in Tesco stores, they are prioritising one hour every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning between 9-10am, for them to do their shopping.

Mr Lewis said: "It is fair to say that we find ourselves in uncharted waters. COVID-19 is bringing a change to the UK and it’s clear that lots of things are going to have to shift around in order to help us cope.

"At Tesco, we have been doing everything we can to keep business as usual, but we now have to accept it is not business as usual.

"In the last two weeks, we have seen significant and prolonged increases in demand across all of our stores and this is leading to shortages in some products for some customers.

"Reacting to the latest government announcements, we have to plan on this situation being the new normal and we will do all that we can to make the food you want available, but we need your help.

"In order to protect the core shopping essentials, we are going to implement some changes in our stores.

"The changes are designed to simplify what we do so that we can provide more of what people need in a clean and safe environment. We ask for your understanding and your support.

"Tesco store colleagues can't work from home and a good number of them will need to respond to personal or family challenges connected with dealing with COVID-19. So we would please ask that you understand the challenging environment in which we are all working.

"If you do go in-store and want to say thank you, then I'm sure they'd appreciate it.

"So, if you could help us by limiting demand of essential items and allowing us to focus on the core needs of our customers – we are confident that we can continue to feed the nation.

"We are delivering food daily to our stores, but this is a very challenging time and we will only get through this if we work together."