The news of Australia’s first confirmed coronavirus death has sent Aussie shoppers into panic buying mode. Supermarket shelves across the country are being stripped bare of supplies, with toilet paper, hand sanitiser and face masks in hot demand.
Users took to Twitter to share images of the barren aisles, with Sydney local Rebel Ush suggesting the trend was “only the beginning.”
This is at Woolies today. Coronavirus pandemic announcement has led to buying-frenzy in our local supermarkets already and this is only the beginning. I won’t be surprised if Australia runs out of essentials just like baby formula supply was jacked for years! pic.twitter.com/K9UjPRyAEP
— Rebel Ush (@UshRebel) March 1, 2020
“This is at Woolies today. Coronavirus pandemic announcement has led to buying-frenzy in our local supermarkets already and this is only the beginning,” she wrote on Twitter.
The supermarket stockpiling and panic buying comes just days after 78-year-old James Kwan became the first Australian to die from coronavirus, after contracting the illness while aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
COLES Geelong West…toilet paper section…. give me strength ! pic.twitter.com/tuByKx82oe
— Darren Gilmore ?? (@darrengilmore6) March 2, 2020
Currently, Australia has around 30 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, and that number is expected to rise. Reports of the disease have sent shockwaves through our supermarket aisles, much to the amusement of our international neighbours.
However, despite acknowledging a sharp increase in panic buying, the big supermarket chains aren’t too worried.
Empty shelves at local Coles. Rice/Pasta/Flour/UHT Milk/Milk Powder/Noodles/Toilet Paper/Paper Towels/OTC Medicines all gone. Many shoppers are stunned at the scenes. #panicbuying #coronavirusaustralia pic.twitter.com/MEzFevrf29
— David Cao (@DavidCaoEV) March 2, 2020
“We’ve seen a sharp increase in demand for long life pantry items and household staples in recent days, which has led to partial stock shortages across some of our stores,” a Woolworths spokesperson told Man of Many.
“Our teams have been working hard to replenish these products as quickly as possible. We have good stock levels to draw on in our distribution centres and will continue working closely with our suppliers to maintain supply. We apologise to customers for the inconvenience and thank them for their patience.”
Similarly, Coles revealed it’s ramping up deliveries this week in response to the buying boom.
“Coles has increased the number of deliveries to stores this week to improve availability on popular products, such as long-life pantry staples and healthcare items and our teams are working hard to fill the shelves as quickly as possible,” a Coles spokesperson said.
— Coronavirus Diary (@CoronavirusDia1) March 2, 2020
So, while it may be a while before we see the shelves back to full capacity, it’s not quite red alert levels yet. Let’s hope the share house isn’t out of toilet paper this week.
A Woolworths toilet paper aisle in WA. Panic buying at play. pic.twitter.com/NVvvbLywBW
— Lara Hyams (@Lara_Hyams) March 2, 2020