Woolworths has announced it will limit the number of toilet paper packs each shopper can buy as supermarkets nationwide combat panic buying in the face of the global coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.
Citing a statement from the supermarket chain, Nine News reports Woolworths will only permit each shopper to walk out with four packs of toilet paper at a time.
We’re absolutely confident nobody needs to buy more than that at any one point, but punters seem to disagree: in recent days, shoppers have stripped shelves of essentials like toilet paper, along with items like hand sanitiser and long-life foods.
The commotion has been driven by community fears the Covid-19 outbreak will sweep across Australia, forcing infected individuals, or those who have come into contact with them, to quarantine themselves at home for fourteen days.
As of yesterday morning, Australia has counted 33 confirmed cases of Covid-19 within its borders, and NSW Health today confirmed its third case of local human-to-human coronavirus transmission.
But nationwide panic is totally unjustified, according to Australia’s top doctors, the Department of Health, and even Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who yesterday urged Australians to “go about their business and their normal processes in a calm manner.”
In a statement obtained by Guardian Australia, Woolies’ chief competitor Coles said “We are working with our suppliers and transport partners to manage our response to the coronavirus and minimise any long-term impacts on product availability for customers.”
It’s a big deal for bog roll manufacturer Kimberly-Clark though, with Millicent mill manager Adam Carpenter telling the ABC the plant is increasing production as a response to the sudden demand.
Overall, Australians have been advised to keep up good hygiene practices, including a solid hand-washing routine.
Of course, if you have come into contact with someone who has the virus, you should self-isolate for fourteen days, and if symptoms develop you should call your doc or healthdirect on 1800 022 222.
Stocking up on loo rolls, though? We can probably do without that.
Image: @harleyqscrush / Twitter
I genuinely don’t understand this. Toilet paper is one of the very few things you can absolutely improvise in a catastrophe. Why is that what people are panic buying. What is *happening*.
— Ben Jenkins (@bencjenkins) March 3, 2020