Whanganui pharmacist Trevor Hawkins is urging people not to panic buy medicine as the country prepares to go into self-isolation in response to Covid-19.

"Help us to help you by not unnecessarily putting a lot of pressure on, everybody will get served and everybody will get what they need," the Hawkins Pharmacy owner said.

Hawkins said there had been a bit of panic from the public and the pharmacy phone did not stop ringing for the first hour and a half indicating people were rushing in to get medication and information.

"There's no need to panic, New Zealand has plenty of medicines, the Prime Minister has stressed that we are going to make it a priority of maintaining medicine supply, pharmacies will be one of those places that no matter what level the alert goes to the pharmacy will still remain open," he told the Chronicle.

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Last week Hawkins Pharmacy received a number of requests from individuals to stockpile medicines and ask for extra prescriptions but the Medical Council has advised them not to allow this to happen.

"[People] can help and take responsibility if they feel an urge to rush to the phone or rush to the pharmacy and grab their repeats early just take a breath, drop the shoulders a little bit and be a bit more measured in the approach to achieve what they need," Hawkins said.

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"The pharmacy is not just the building, it's the people behind the counter, its important health workers within the system are protected because we are in it for the long haul and whatever that means, pharmacy staff need to be able to stay on their feet."

Hawkins Pharmacy like many other local pharmacies have had to restrict the number of items customers can buy including face masks and hand sanitiser as Hawkins said they are very limited to what they can buy from suppliers.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

On the other side of town, Wicksteed Pharmacy has decided to close their doors and serve customers through the window.

Lesley Roy, manager of Wicksteed Pharmacy, said they had been very busy.

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"We've decided to close our doors as it enables the continuity of service to our customers so if any of us fall ill we would have to close our doors so the whole idea is to be able to continue to serve the public with all their medication," he said.

She said they deliver medication.

What you need to know
What you need to know