- Supermarkets bring in shocking four-pack limit on toilet roll amid panic buying
- Australians are stockpiling household essentials as coronavirus cases soar
- Woolworths brought in the limit, while manufacturers speed up 24/7 production
- It comes as Australia’s number of coronavirus cases soared to 40 on Tuesday
Supermarkets have been forced to put a four-pack limit on toilet roll, as panicked Australians empty shelves across the country amid concerns basic supplies will run out.
Australians are rushing to stock pile the household staple in fears that coronavirus will disrupt the manufacturing of toilet paper – 40 per cent of which is made in China, the epicentre of the outbreak.
It comes as the killer coronavirus threatens to become a global pandemic, with 3,100 people already dead and more than 92,000 infected.
Toilet roll in particular is racing off shelves, with the country’s biggest manufacturers, Kimberly-Clark, speeding up its 24-hour production line.
It hopes the round-the-clock production will help to slow the panic, as Australian families stock up fearing a total supermarket shutdown.
The toilet paper aisle was completely empty at Coles in Gladesville on Tuesday afternoon amid coronavirus panic buying
Shelves are bare across multiple Australian supermarkets (pictured, left) as worried families stockpile toilet roll (right)
On Wednesday morning, shopping giant Woolworths introduced a four-pack limit to slow down the panic buying, as the government insists Australians should be going about their daily lives.
Woolworths said the four-pack limit would shore up stock levels in the face of ‘higher than usual demand’.
‘Woolworths has today moved to apply a quantity limit on toilet paper packs to ensure more customers have access to these products,’ the company said in a statement.
‘The purchase limit of four packs per customer transaction applies in-store and online.’
This picture, shared on Facebook, shows shoppers panic buying toilet roll in Australia (pictured) amid fears supermarkets could soon run out
Experts predict the number of cases is likely to soar in the coming days, with up to 96,000 residents at risk of dying from the respiratory disease.
Seven more people tested positive to COVID-19 in Australia on Tuesday alone – including the country’s second case of human-to-human transmission – bringing the total number to 40.
Former Reserve Bank of Australia board member Warwick McKibbin warned a global pandemic could wipe out 68 million people worldwide, including 96,000 Australians.
The toilet rolls aisles at the Macquarie Centre in Macquarie Park were completely empty on Tuesday
The toilet roll aisle at the Woolworths in Bondi Junction was completely empty on Tuesday afternoon (pictured)
Last week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison admitted there was ‘every indication’ the world would imminently enter ‘the pandemic phase of the virus’.
On Tuesday, he made a rare plea to the bosses of Woolworths and Coles as communities worry about running out of toilet roll and pantry staples.
The supermarket giants admitted they had begun stockpiling toilet paper, tissues and Panadol, as well as long-life food produce.
On Wednesday morning, Woolworths announced it was introducing a four-pack per person limit on toilet roll.
Australian evacuees who were quarantined on Christmas Island over concerns about the COVID-19 coronavirus arrive at Sydney Airport in Sydney on February 17 (pictured)
Shoppers pose with the empty shelves of a toilet paper section in a Coles supermarket (pictured) amid panic buying
A shopper at Coles Broadway, in Sydney’s inner city, shared a picture of the empty toilet paper aisle on Tuesday, writing there was also no pasta or Panadol in stock (pictured)
Production has been disrupted in China, the epicentre of the virus, and one of the world’s primary suppliers of the household essential.
Tim Woods, the managing director of market analyst Industry Edge, told Perth Now Australia imported 40 per cent of its toilet paper from China but the rest was manufactured locally.
“There might be a one-off hit to what’s on the shelves, but is that going to continue today, tomorrow and so on? I doubt it,’ he said.
‘People will go and buy extra packs and then they’ll go and look in their cupboards and go why have I got 90 rolls?’
Shoppers declared the ‘end of the world’ on Tuesday as they desperately attempted to buy basic necessities. Empty shelves are pictured at a Coles supermarket in Canberra (pictured)
People wearing face masks walk by Flinders Street Station in Melbourne (pictured) in January
Kimberley-Clark, the company that makes Kleenex toilet paper, said: ‘Kleenex toilet paper for Australia and NZ is made at our Mill in South Australia, and our production lines are working 24/7 to address the increased, short-term demand.
‘We’re also working closely with our customers to replenish supermarket shelves faster.’
Solaris Paper, which manufactures toilet paper brands such as Sorbent, also said they anticipated “no shortage of supply”.
“Concerns over the coronavirus contagion has resulted in some panic buying,’ Solaris Paper’s corporate affairs director Steve Nicholson said.
‘Some products may have been depleted from shelves, but replenishment will catch up and there will be no shortage of supply from Sorbent’s Australian production.’
Numerous advertisements for toilet paper have since popped up on Gumtree and Facebook marketplace amid the fresh panic (pictured)
Mr Morrison has said the Treasury was working with other government agencies to come up with a plan to boost the economy.
‘It will be a targeted plan. It will be a measured plan. It will be a scalable plan,’ he said.
‘It will be targeted on the real diagnosis of the economic issue we are looking to confront here.’
Pictures showed empty shelves and jam packed trolleys as shoppers flocked to supermarkets and cleared the shelves of pasta, tinned food, bottled water, toilet paper and hand sanitiser.
‘It’s like the world is coming to an end and I’m the only one who doesn’t know it,’ one shopper wrote alongside a picture of a swarm of customers lining up at the checkout.
A shopper at Coles Broadway, in Sydney’s inner city, shared a picture of the empty toilet paper aisle on Tuesday, saying there was also no pasta or Panadol in stock.
Woolworths (pictured, in Sydney’s Town Hall) introduced a four-pack limit on toilet roll on Wednesday morning
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA CLIMB TO 41
NEW SOUTH WALES: 15
Three men aged 43, 53, and 35 who had recently travelled to China contracted the disease.
Two flew in from Wuhan while the other arrived in Sydney from Shenzhen, south China.
They were treated in isolation at Westmead Hospital.
A 21-year-old woman is identified as the fourth person to test positive for the illness in NSW.
The woman, a student at UNSW, flew into Sydney International Airport on flight MU749 on January 23 and presented to the emergency department 24 hours later after developing flu-like symptoms.
A man in his 40s is confirmed as the fifth coronavirus case in the state and a woman in her 50s as the sixth. Both returned to Sydney from Iran.
The 41-year-old sister of a man who had returned from Iran with the disease was one of three confirmed cases. The second locally-acquired case was a 53-year-old male health worker who hadn’t travelled for many months.
The other new case is a 31-year-old man who flew into Sydney on Saturday from Iran and developed symptoms 24 hours later.
Six more cases are confirmed in NSW. They included a 39-year-old man who had flown in from Iran and a 53-year-old man who arrived from Singapore last Friday.
Two women aged in their 60s who arrived in Sydney from South Korea and Japan respectively were also confirmed.
A man in his 30s who returned from Malaysia to Sydney on Malindo Air flight OD171 on March 1 was also confirmed infected.
A 50-year-old woman is diagnosed with coronavirus. The woman is a carer at a nursing home in Macquarie Park in Sydney’s north. She had not been overseas and contracted the virus in Australia.
A Chinese national aged in his 50s becomes the first confirmed case of the coronavirus in Australia.
The man flew to Melbourne on China Southern flight CZ321 from Wuhan via Guangzhou on January 19.
He was quarantined at Monash Hospital in Clayton in Melbourne’s east.
A Victorian man in his 60s is diagnosed with the coronavirus.
He became unwell on January 23 – two days after returning from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak.
The man was confirmed as positive on January 29 and was subsequently seen by doctors at the Monash Medical Centre.
A woman in her 40s is found to have coronavirus.
She was visiting from China and mostly spent time with her family.
She is being treated at Royal Melbourne Hospital.
A woman in her 20s in Melbourne is found to have the virus.
Two passengers taken off the Diamond Princess cruise ship test positive.
Another passenger taken off the cruise ship tests positive.
Victorian man confirmed to have coronavirus after the 78-year-old was evacuated to Melbourne from a Darwin quarantine centre.
It is confirmed a Victorian woman in her 30s has tested positive for coronavirus after flying from Malaysia to Melbourne via Indonesia.
Victorian man in his 30s confirmed to have coronavirus after returning from Iran. Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said the man was ‘almost symptom-free’ after self-isolating
Queensland confirms its first case after a 44-year-old Chinese national was diagnosed with the virus. He is being treated at Gold Coast University Hospital.
A 42-year-old Chinese woman who was travelling in the same Wuhan tour group as the 44-year-old man tests positive. She is in Gold Coast University Hospital in stable condition.
An eight-year-old boy was diagnosed with coronavirus. He is also from the tour group where the other Queensland cases came from.
A 37-year-old man, who was a member of a group of nine Chinese tourists in quarantine on the Gold Coast, also tested positive.
A 37-year-old woman was diagnosed with coronavirus from the same travel group that flew to Queensland from Melbourne on January 27.
Two Queensland women, aged 54 and 55, tested positive for COVID-19 and will be flown to Brisbane for further treatment.
A 57-year-old woman from Queensland also tested positive for the virus.
A 63-year-old woman was confirmed to have the virus after returning to the Gold Coast from Iran.
A 20-year-old man from China was confirmed as the tenth person to be infected by the coronavirus in Queensland. The man had travelled to Dubai for at least 14 days before entering Australia, via Brisbane on February 23.
SOUTH AUSTRALIA: 3
A Chinese couple in their 60s who arrived in Adelaide from Wuhan to visit relatives are confirmed to have coronavirus.
A 24-year-old woman from South Australia was transferred to Royal Adelaide Hospital.
WESTERN AUSTRALIA: 2
A 78-year-old man from Western Australia was transferred to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth. On February 28, he was taken into intensive care in a ‘serious’ condition and later died.
The elderly man died in the early hours of the morning from the virus at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.
The man who travelled from Iran to Australia on Saturday tested positive for COVID-19.