On Friday, shoppers complained of bare aisles and people hoarding loo roll in grocery stores across the UK, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons.
Shortages of hand soap, disinfectants, baby wipes, pasta and rice were also spotted in stores.
“Sorry, but I’m actually a little relived to see this,” one Australian wrote on Twitter.
“I was honestly thinking the whole toilet paper thing was basically only happening here in Australia.”
— Suzie Brown (@_suziebrown) March 6, 2020
@Morrisons the guy before me at the till bought 6 packs of 4 toilet rolls. The toilet paper aisle was almost empty. I did think that maybe I should nip back + get some, in case there is none when I do my weekly shop tomorrow. Panic buying causes panic buying #rationtoiletroll
— Betty Beachcomber (@Aonachan25) March 6, 2020
My local Tesco has no toilet paper and hand soap. Corona virus hysteria has officially started in the UK too. 🙄
— BrAnKa (@9blueballoons) March 6, 2020
Safe to say panic buying is in full force in the UK. Toilet roll, hand sanitiser, canned foods and pasta. There’s basically no pasta!!! Never ever seen this in a shop EVER! pic.twitter.com/EObbMFcO1u
— Samuel Carvalho (@SamCarvalho) March 5, 2020
And so it begins… ASDA pasta, tinned tomatoes and toilet paper. All gone. pic.twitter.com/DGk5Xginpq
— Mr #NotMyBrexit 🇬🇧🇫🇷🇩🇪🇪🇺🌍 aka Mr Remain (@MrRemain) March 6, 2020
Boots – one of the UK’s biggest pharmacy chains – has advised that hand sanitiser is sold out in some of its stores and will be rationed in others. Signs posted on shelves also warned face masks were unavailable.
Boots in Gatwick told me they sold 1,800 bottles of hand sanitiser in one day! pic.twitter.com/x0mVD7Rumk
— Juliette Ginsberg (@julesginsberg77) March 6, 2020
The British Retail Consortium, which represents most of the UK’s supermarkets, told news.com.au there had been a “rise in demand” for both hygiene and long-life products.
“Our members are working as hard as they can to ensure all consumers have access to the products they need,” the director of food and sustainability, Andrew Opie, said.
I just had to order toilet paper from @Amazon. Not because I’m freaking out, but because all the shelves of our @Walmart here in Spokane, Washington and N.Idaho are empty, and we’re down to our last 4 rolls here at home. 😳 #COVID19 #CoronaVirusSeattle pic.twitter.com/XHuV2a5ERm
— ✨Willie✨ (@CovertQT) March 5, 2020
In the United States, police were called to a Costco in California on Friday after customers became “unruly” over shortages of toilet paper, water and paper towels.
Kroger Co, the biggest independent grocer in the US, has also placed limits on the number of “sanitisation” and “cold and flu-related” products people can buy.
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Australia’s toilet paper crisis reached fever pitch when photos of empty shelves and stuffed trolleys went viral on social media this week.
One shopper told news.com.au they were stocking up because everyone had gone “a little bit crazy”.
“I’m buying it because everyone else is doing it,” another said.
More than 60 cases of the virus have now been reported across the country and two people have died.
On Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the outbreak could cost Australian taxpayers about $1 billion in health spending.