New Zealand supermarkets are enforcing restrictions on customers hoping to buy hand sanitiser products amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Some stores could even be completely out of stock as the virus affects millions of people worldwide.

At New World Thorndon, a sign on the shelves said because of demand, customers were limited to just two hand sanitiser products per person.

READ MORE:
Wuhan hospital boss Liu Zhiming dies after infection
More cases confirmed on Diamond Princess cruise ship, Kiwis await flight home
Tokyo Marathon cancels mass race, elite runners only
Researchers pinpoint facility near Wuhan seafood market as possible source

Advertisement

The store apologised for any inconvenience the limitation caused to customers.

More than 71,000 people have caught the virus, and there have been more than 1700 deaths as a result of the infection, according to AP.

Called Covid-19 by the World Health Organisation, the virus is most damaging in mainland China where the majority of cases have been.

Medical workers pump oxygen for a new coronavirus patient at a hospital in Wuhan in Hubei province. Photo / AP
Medical workers pump oxygen for a new coronavirus patient at a hospital in Wuhan in Hubei province. Photo / AP

The local demand for hand sanitiser products is mirroring that happening elsewhere.

New World stores could either be completely out of stock or have quantity measures in place, spokeswoman Antoinette Laird said.

"We're working closely with vendors to secure as much stock as possible, and exploring sourcing new brands to fill the gap, but volumes are limited due to international demand," she said.

"We're also seeing significant demand and out of stocks for other antibacterial products such as hand wash, antiseptic liquid, face masks, bleach and/or antibacterial wipes.

"If a customer's local store is sold out of the antibacterial products they are looking for, we ask for patience as we secure more stock and get it on store shelves."

Advertisement

Customers could also visit the Ministry of Health website for information and recommendations on how to be prepared and take care of themselves and their families, Laird said.

Elsewhere, Countdown stores had also limited the number of hand sanitisers customers could buy - also a maximum of two.

The limitation had been put in place for about a week because of increased demand, a spokesperson for the supermarket chain said.

"Similar to Foodstuffs, we're working with our suppliers to manage this as best we can," the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, another 99 people aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined in Japan tested positive for coronavirus, the Japanese health ministry said.

The Diamond Princess had been docked outside Yokohama under quarantine since February 4 after people on board were found to have been infected.

The total number of virus carriers has now hit 454, according to Japan's public broadcaster NHK news - nearly 13 per cent of the 3600 people who were on board.

Among the passengers are 11 New Zealanders who are expected to be evacuated by Australia shortly.

Runners, some wearing masks, compete in a Kumamoto castle marathon in western Japan. Photo / AP
Runners, some wearing masks, compete in a Kumamoto castle marathon in western Japan. Photo / AP

In China, the director of the hospital in the coronavirus-stricken city of Wuhan died after being infected with the illness.

Dr Liu Zhiming, the director of Wuchang Hospital, died yesterday according to the Chinese Communist Party's official newspaper, The People's Daily.

They also reported he is the first hospital director to die from the virus.

The news comes weeks after the death of whistleblower Dr Li Wenliang at another hospital, the Wuhan Central Hospital.

Li was mourned around the world after the ophthalmologist sounded the alarm about the spread of the virus, before being detained by the Chinese government.