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Security staff have seen people swiping bottles of hand sanitiser from Southern District Health Board facilities.
It comes amid growing fears over Covid-19, although the number of confirmed cases in New Zealand remained low yesterday.
Board acting operations general manager Jenny Hanson said security staff had captured surveillance footage showing members of the public taking ‘‘bottles of hand sanitiser throughout our facilities’’.
She said although the board tried to ‘‘protect and secure’’ supplies of hand sanitiser, it also had to ensure best access for staff, patients and visiting members of the public who needed it.
Orderlies have reported a need to replenish hand sanitisers in hospitals more frequently, partly due to greater public awareness of the need to wash hands.
‘‘However, we expect that some of this increased demand will also be due to theft because of the shortage of hand sanitiser available for sale in shops,’’ Ms Hanson said.
Ms Hanson said washing hands with soap and water was just as effective as sanitiser.