Coronavirus: Women in violent Australian fight over single toilet paper pack

A violent fight has broken out in an Australian Woolworths over a single pack of toilet paper, prompting a callout to the local police.

The spread of the deadly coronavirus - which has infected more than 100,000 people, including 65 in Australia -  has led to widespread panic-buying. One of the products being scoped out by buyers is toilet paper, despite an abundance of it in New Zealand and across the ditch.

Video has now emerged of a scuffle in a Sydney supermarket. It shows three women fighting after one of them wanted a single pack of toilet paper. Two appear to be defending their stockpile of paper stacked in a trolley. The woman are pulling each other's hair and are screaming for the first part of the video as people watch on.

"Are you joking... are you f***ing joking," one bystander says.

After they are separated, the women begin bickering. The lady who wanted the toilet paper says: "I just want one pack".

Staff eventually step in and try and confiscate the trolley of paper. One then rings the police.

The incident is described by one person who shared the footage as the "bog roll beatdown".

Police confirmed to Australian media that officers were called to the scene where a 49-year-old woman was assaulted, but no arrests were made.

Woolworths has condemned the fighting.

"We will not tolerate violence of any kind from our customers in our stores and we are working with police who are investigating the matter," the company said.

Earlier this week, an economics professor in the United States said people often panic-buy toilet paper at they get worried others will stockpile and supplies will eventually run out. 

"You run and get toilet paper not because you need dozens of rolls, but because you fear that others are going to stockpile leaving none for you," Justin Wolfers says in a series of tweets.

"And they're buying because they fear (correctly) that you're running to the store to stock up, leaving none for them."

National MP Judith Collins on Friday called for calm, saying that New Zealand was well stocked up on the product. 

"I'm not into panicking myself... I would remind everybody that New Zealand actually produces toilet paper and there's no reason to get all excited because there's a whole place down in Kawerau that just does that. Like, pushing it all out." 

Purex has a factory in Kawerau, and even has an entire page on its website dedicated to telling the story of how it set up in nearby Kaingaroa Forest during the Depression, nearly 90 years ago, and started producing "the first local toilet roll that was both soft and strong" in the 1950s.

"In 2014 we moved all of our toilet roll conversion to the Kawerau factory - the same place that has been making the tissue mother reels since 1955. This meant that Purex was now made from start to finish on one site."