As Irish pharmacies struggle to meet the demand for antibacterial hand gel, the Irish Pharmacy Union is reassuring patients that there is no need to order extra quantities of medicines.

In a statement, the IPU said: "Doing so will disrupt existing stock levels and hamper the supply of medicines for other patients.

"Patients should be reassured that there will be a continuity of supply of medicines and should be encouraged not to seek supplies of medicines over and above their normal requirements."

The IPU said it was "working closely" with the Department of Health and the HSE, adding that "pharmacists are very much in the frontline", as they are in constant contact with members of the public.  

It also said that none of the medicine shortages currently affecting the Irish market are as a result of Covid-19.

Commenting on the impact of Covid-19 on customer behaviour, Yvonne Hughes, the manager of MacNamara's pharmacy in Swords, said: "Customers have gotten a little bit more aggressive when it comes to hand sanitisers. You tell them that we are out of stock and they go off grumbling. 

"We tend to open the door for our customers now because some of our customers are afraid to handle door frames.

"I am conscious in the shop because we’re handling money, so I do tend to use a hand sanitiser after I deal with every customer. We’ve 'Dettolled' all the surfaces in the shop too."