Photographs of shops in a number of countries being completely bare of toilet paper have emerged on social media.
Loo roll packs in Australia have been put up for sale online for up to AU$1,000,000 (£51,3912), and someone attempted to sell a single sheet ‘as new’ on Sydney’s Facebook Marketplace for £514.
#Toiletpaper has been trending on Twitter and other hygiene products and household goods including bleach, rice, pasta and hand sanitiser have been hugely popular sellers, with antibacterial gel being sold on Amazon for £360.
So what is causing this panic buying?
Why is there a toilet paper shortage?
Even though the authorities have maintained that it is not necessary, shoppers have been stockpiling in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.
This has resulted in an international shortage of toilet paper.
Sharon Reilly took pictures of a store in Massachusetts, United States, noting that toilet paper stocks were low and ‘all the bleach was gone too’.
She said: ‘It did not make me feel like I needed to stockpile. It made me sad that people are clearly scared.’
Franziska Heintel shared photos of empty supermarket shelves in Berlin. She said: ‘I’m not sure if it’s an accurate representation and I don’t want to make people panic even more.
‘There’s probably plenty of stores here that didn’t sell out of stuff yet. I was just super shocked and surprised to see this when I was just doing some regular shopping.’
Anne Stubbs tweeted: ‘The world’s gone mad! 3 supermarkets – no toilet roll! Last I heard #coronavirus causes a flu-like illness not wild, explosive diarrhoea!
‘Scored possibly the last pack in the whole of Brisbane!’ she added.
Meanwhile UK resident Maxine Craddock quipped in a tweet: ‘Have asked for hand sanitizer and loo roll for Mother’s Day’, and London-based Lou Paterson shared photographs of bare shelves on his shopping trip, tweeting: ‘In my local Sainsburys earlier today. I can confirm toilet roll is being stock-piled’.
Meanwhile in Sydney, Australia, police were called to a Woolworths supermarket over reports that a man and a woman had been fighting over toilet paper, and that one of those involved was carrying a knife.
Thankfully no-one was injured in the confrontation, with a witness telling Daily Mail Australia: ‘There was a fight over toilet paper – you could hear a commotion coming from down the end aisle.
‘There was a knife pulled and the people started running around. It was all over in a few moments, security were here and police came and talked to a woman.’
Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK Government’s chief scientific adviser, has said there was no need for Britons to panic buy.
‘I think the advice is that there is absolutely no reason to be doing any panic buying of any sort or going out and keeping large supplies of things,’ he told reporters.
‘Clearly there will need to be measures in cases of household quarantine for making sure food is in the right place at the right time.
‘We imagine that could be a rolling case of household quarantine if that measure becomes necessary, and clearly things will need to be in place for care homes and so on if that decision is made.’
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