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UK supermarket Morrisons gives discount to health workers battling coronavirus

UK supermarket Morrisons gives discount to health workers battling coronavirus

FILE PHOTO: A Morrisons supermarket is seen in south London, Britain August 19, 2016. Picture taken August 19, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls//File Photo

LONDON: Morrisons, Britain's fourth biggest supermarket group, said it is giving National Health Service (NHS) workers a 10 per cent discount to support them through the coronavirus crisis.

It is the first of Britain's 'Big Four' to give a monetary discount to 1.5 million NHS workers, who have already been offered priority shopping hours by market leader Tesco, Sainsbury's, Walmart owned Asda and Morrisons.

While their sales have soared during the pandemic, supermarkets have been criticised for accepting hundreds of millions of pounds in business tax relief from the British government and in the case of Tesco and Morrisons, for paying a shareholder dividend.

READ: UK prepares to extend virus lockdown, says peak has not passed

Morrisons said the NHS discount will come into effect from Thursday and last until Jul 12, when it will be reviewed.

"This discount is our thank you to all those working in the National Health Service at this very difficult time," Chief Executive David Potts said on Tuesday (Apr 14).

Supermarket groups have launched other initiatives to help NHS workers, who have widespread public support in Britain as they try to treat growing numbers of coronavirus cases.

As of Sunday 11,329 people had died in British hospitals after testing positive for coronavirus. As of Saturday, 19 NHS workers had died after contracting the virus.

Last week, Tesco said it was the retail partner of SalutetheNHS.org which will provide one million free meal parcels to frontline NHS workers. Tesco is donating all the food and ingredients used in the production of the parcels.

Tesco is also opening pop-up stores at the temporary Nightingale hospitals the NHS has set-up, while Morrisons has launched a click and collect food box service from hospital car parks to give NHS staff easier access to groceries. (US$1 = 0.7943 pounds) 

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