Toilet roll panic buying could create global shortage amid coronavirus fears

Panic buying of toilet roll and hand wash could create a global shortage, amid growing coronavirus fears.

Wednesday, 4th March 2020, 4:27 pm
Updated Wednesday, 4th March 2020, 4:27 pm

People across the world have been stockpiling loo roll and hand santiser – with fights breaking out in Australian stores over supplies.

And with the number of UK cases currently at 51, there are fears UK citizens could follow the trend – leading to shelves being stripped.

Twitter users have been commenting on the apparent mass toilet roll panic. One wrote: “@AsdaServiceTeam @sainsburys @LidlGB @AldiUK @IcelandFoods @Morrisons are you going to implement customer limits on toilet roll, baby food, essentials per customer?”

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Could the world be facing a toilet roll shortage?

“UK toilet paper hoarding now too,” another said, with a photo of one Briton taking home huge rolls of paper.

One said: “People are panic buying in the UK. Handwash and Gel and toilet paper, are sold out in many stores.”

“Why is the first thing you stock up is toilet paper when there is a Coronavirus problem? Supermarket shelves are empty,” another said.

Boots, Tesco and Sainsbury’s have all reported running low on stocks of hand wash and sanitiser while Aussie supermarket Woolworths is rationing toilet roll, in a bid to stop Australian citizens mass buying the product.

The company said it “moved to apply a quantity limit on toilet paper packs.”

Customers were limited to four rolls to “ensure more customers have access to the products”.

The UK Government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said: “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.

“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.”

The virus is continuing to spread across the globe, with nearly 100,000 cases now reported.