The coronavirus pandemic has turned frontline NHS staff into national heroes. 

But the shopworkers who man the tills or stack the shelves at supermarkets are also playing a key part in keeping the country going during the Covid-19 outbreak. 

Now an Asda employee has spoken out to reveal the fear and confusion experienced by people working to feed us during the crisis.

The Scottish man, who we are not naming, told us he was worried that fellow employees and customers might not be following safety guidelines drawn up to stop the virus spreading.

"It feels like working-class people are being hung out to dry," he said. 

"We listen to the radio and know that we have to stand two metres away from each other and wash your hands.

"I have to open several doors to enter the shop floor - and I've seen people just pushing them with bare hands. Then we have to swipe in using a touchscreen - which people have also touched with their bare hands. 

"I have to brush past colleagues on the stairs and customers in the aisles. Some of them have just been standing and talking face to face.

"There are rules for staff to follow, but how do we police customers?"

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The anonymous employee showed us a briefing document given to Asda employees. 

It was compiled by the GMB union and contained one piece of information which concerned him.

"We were told that coronavirus could not be spread by food or packaging," he said.

"But is that misleading?"

Recent scientific research tells a different story. 

In a coronavirus briefing document published online, Harvard University wrote: "A recent study found that the COVID-19 coronavirus can survive up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard, and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.

"The researchers also found that this virus can hang out as droplets in the air for up to three hours before they fall. But most often they will fall more quickly. "

We asked Asda why a document given to staff claimed it was "very unlikely [the virus] can be spread through things like packages or food".

It told us this was advice published by the NHS. 

So we asked the NHS where it got this information - and it said Public Health England. 

GMB Union said nothing and did not respond to our questions. 

We also asked the union if had concerns about the staff working at Asda, but it didn't give us an answer. 

"I'm starting to think that no-one cares about supermarket workers," the anonymous worker said. 

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Asda has just announced a series of safety measures, saying it will introduce floor markers and directional barriers to help customers keep their distance, and will install perspex screens at its checkouts.

Hand sanitiser will be available for customers to use when entering and departing.

In an email to staff seen by The Herald, Asda said it has also "committed to pay vulnerable colleagues who are forced to self-isolate for the 12 week period recommended by government guidelines". 

We have also seen a letter written by chief executive Roger Burnley which said: "You don’t need me to tell you that the last week has been unlike any we have experienced in all of our years in retail.

"The demands on supermarkets and the extraordinary change in our customers’ shopping behaviour have been – and continue to be – truly incredible.

"All of us, wherever we work in our great business, have had to change the way we work and respond quickly to these changes.

"I do not underestimate how hard it has been, and continues to be: I’m so admiring of the attitude and spirit with which you’re approaching the vital role you are all playing in society at the moment, but equally, the pressures you are under are constantly on my mind."  

Shops selling “non-essential” goods were ordered to close earlier this week as Boris Johnson took dramatic steps to combat the spread of Covid-19.

The draconian measures will be in place for at least three weeks and will also see the closure of libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship.

The Prime Minister said people should not be going shopping except for essentials such as food and medicine.