Shoppers face paracetamol shortage but beer shelves are overflowing

Shoppers have been struggling to get hold of paracetamol from many supermarkets but beer shelves are overflowing.

Headache tablets are hard to come by as the impact of the Omicron variant of coronavirus continues to be felt in the UK’s economy.

New data from the Office for National Statistics found people are struggling to find paracetamol and ibuprofen across the nation as stocks have been depleted by vast illness and infection of the milder Covid variant.

But for those fit and well, experts said now’s a good time to stock up on beers, as booze levels in the shops are high.

Data found that the number of people dining in restaurants is back to pre-pandemic levels as the government eases restrictions.

Compared with the same week in 2020, before Covid-19 struck, numbers of seated diners had declined by just 3% in the seven days to January 24.

It comes after a 5 percentage point increase the week before.

ONS data also shows that 24% of sites surveyed had either low or no stocks of paracetamol, while 17% reported the same for ibuprofen.

High levels of unavailability were also reported for fresh fish, fresh pork, sparkling water, dried pasta and frozen fish.

Very few places reported problems with milk, fresh fruit and vegetables or beer.

The data also sheds further light on the state of the aviation industry. Airlines have been some of the worst-hit businesses during the pandemic as heavy restrictions were placed on people travelling abroad.

There were on average 2,400 flights landing and taking off from the UK every day in the week ending January 23.

This is around three times as many as last year, but still around half of pre-pandemic levels, the ONS said.

Meanwhile more pedestrians and cyclists are on London’s streets than before the pandemic.

Compared with the week before the first UK-wide lockdown in 2020, there were 15% more cyclists and pedestrians.

However car numbers have also increased, by 8%, while the number of vans is down 1%.

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