COVID-19: Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison demands Australians stop panic buying as the country gets a second wave of toilet paper hoarding

Scott Morrison has issued a blunt message to Australian's who are hoarding.
Scott Morrison has issued a blunt message to Australian's who are hoarding. Photo credit: Twitter/Getty

Not for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison had demanded citizens stop panic buying as supermarkets reintroduce purchase limits.

Limits were brought back after a spike in coronavirus cases in the state of Victoria set off a fresh round of panic-buying over fears of a new stay-at-home order. 

The buying restrictions - and images of stripped shelves - are a reminder of Australia's initial response to the arrival of COVID-19 when shoppers stockpiled household goods in anticipation of a protracted shutdown.

With only 7500 COVID-19 cases in total and 104 deaths, Australia has been easing restrictions on movement, but 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 hoard.

Now the pattern has spread nationwide.

Speaking to the media on Friday, Morrison had a frank message for those partaking in "ridiculous" hoarding.

"Stop it," he said. "There's no need for it.

"I'm sure it will pass as it did last time."

Australia supermarket chain Woolworth had ordered an extra 650,000 packs of toilet paper - 30 percent above its normal amount.

"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.

"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 said in a statement.

A spokesman for Australia supermarket franchise Coles said it was restricting toilet paper and paper towel purchases to one pack per person nationwide, with Victoria-only limits on [the] purchase of hand sanitiser, pasta, eggs, rice, and other staples.

Despite the Victoria spike, Morrison and the chief medical officer have said the virus remains under control in Australia and the country will continue with a plan to reopen the economy.

Reuters / Newshub.

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