Supermarkets and stores in Australia have been forced to reintroduce purchase limits on toilet paper and other household items as a second wave of panic buying has swept the country.
A spike in coronavirus cases in the state of Victoria is believed to be behind the fresh round of hoarding, amid fears of a new stay-at-home order.
Woolworths Group Ltd and Coles Group Ltd, which together account for around two-thirds of Australian grocery sales, said they were limiting purchases of toilet paper and paper towels to one or two packs per customer after photos circulated on social media showing empty shelves in stores wiped out by panic buying.
Supermarkets across the world, including in the UK were forced to introduce purchase limits earlier this year and UK households were startled into bulk buying in case they showed symptoms and were forced to isolate for 14 days.
Unlike Britain’s staggering death toll, which has now exceeded 40,000, Australia has recorded around 7,500 cases in total and 104 deaths.
Although Australia had been easing restrictions on movement, a string of double-digit increases in cases in the second-most populous state, Victoria, led to a pause in the reopening there – and prompted shoppers to begin hoarding again.
Now it appears the pattern has spread nationwide.
‘We’ve regrettably started to see elevated demand for toilet roll move outside Victoria in the past 24 hours,’ said Woolworths managing director of supermarkets, Claire Peters, in a statement.
‘While the demand is not at the same level as Victoria, we’re taking preventative action now to get ahead of any excessive buying this weekend,’ she added.Follow us: