Toilet paper: Will coronavirus panic see us run out?


As shoppers prepare for a coronavirus pandemic there’s one item people can’t buy enough of – toilet paper.

While many are stocking up on pantry staples such as pasta and flour, a new photo taken inside a Costco store shows this is the one product people are most afraid of running out.

“Can someone please tell me WHY these idiots are panic buying all the toilet paper ???” the caption reads.

But they’re not alone. Scores of shoppers have been sharing on social media how toilet roll sections at their supermarkets have been decimated.

The hysteria comes despite Prime Minister Scott Morrison telling people today not to panic buy.

“Just before coming into this press conference earlier today, I spoke to both Coles and Woolworths, just to get an update on their arrangements, and I appreciate their response and the steps they are taking to assure people and their own customers,” he said.

“They would send the same message I am sending you today. It is important that people just go about their business and their normal processes in a calm manner. They had spoken to me about the arrangements they have in place around their supply lines and things like this, but I would just urge people to be going about their business in the normal way when it comes to those matters.”

Leading Australian toilet paper manufacturers have also told there is no need to panic as we won’t be running out of rolls anytime soon.

Solaris Paper, which manufactures toilet paper brands such as Sorbent, told they anticipated “no shortage of supply”.

“Concerns over the coronavirus contagion has resulted in some panic buying. Australian consumers should be assured of Sorbent Paper’s ability to maintain ample supply of its tissue products of toilet paper, facial tissues, paper towel and wipes to its retail customers,” Solaris Paper’s corporate affairs director Steve Nicholson said.

“Some products may have been depleted from shelves, but replenishment will catch up and there will be no shortage of supply from Sorbent’s Australian production.”

Coles also told the supermarket giant had “increased the number of deliveries to stores this week to improve availability on popular products, such as long-life pantry staples and healthcare items”.

But it seems Australians just aren’t listening to the advice.

Celebrities such as Bec Judd have been buying up big, with the AFL WAG sharing on her Instagram story how her local Coles in the Melbourne suburb of Brighton had been affected.

“Oh, my God. Imagine not having any toilet paper. Far out,” Judd said in a video as she stocked up on three packs.

As a result, there are even some trying to cash in by selling on their surplus for a large profit.

Brisbane-based blogger Cheree Lawrence, who runs Facebook page Oh So Busy Mum, shared a screenshot of a Facebook marketplace post in Perth selling toilet paper for $5 a roll — yes, you read that right.

“I thought it was a joke when the media was reporting stores have sold out of toilet paper until I witnessed it myself. I couldn’t believe all the empty shelves and sold out items today,” Ms Lawrence wrote.

In the comments some people were quick to express their disbelief, saying it was unbelievable people were already trying to cash in.

However, other commenters said they weren’t surprised by the listing and described how their local supermarket had run out of toilet paper.

“I went to the shops tonight and the only thing we NEEDED was toilet rolls, and there was one pack left! WTAF?” one woman wrote.


Australians have been advised to prepare for COVID-19 as it’s thought it will be declared a worldwide pandemic soon, after Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a coronavirus emergency response plan last week.

However, it doesn’t seem like there is any cause for panic when it comes to our toilet paper supply, as 11 out of 14 of major brands Australian owned.

Brands like Quilton, Kleenex and Sorbent are manufactured in factories across Australia.

Materials used to make Australian toilet paper can come from either local materials or suppliers in overseas countries such as Brazil or Scandinavian countries.

Kimberley-Clark, the company which makes Kleenex toilet paper told “Kleenex toilet paper for Australia and NZ is made at our mill in South Australia so whilst we are seeing increased demand by consumers, we have sufficient supply. We’re now working with our customers to replenish supermarket shelves faster.”

Instead, Health experts have advised people to stock up on sick food staples like vegetable broth or chicken soup, hydrating drinks like Gatorade and crackers.

However, this supply is more to avoid you having to go to public places if you do become infected with coronavirus rather than because of any fears of food running low.

People should also make sure they have several weeks supply of any regular medications they need to take as well as fever-reducing medication paracetamol and ibuprofen.

Australian Medical Association president Dr Tony Bartone told ABC Melbourne yesterday that while there might be some delays in products getting to supermarkets there was no need to panic buy.

“The only thing that we need to be cognisant of is that in the supply chain that is a world village and so a global village, there is going to be some delays in some parts of resources, and things that we’ve become accustomed to having in abundance are going to need a second or third way of getting to us. So that’s going to put a stress on supply,” he said.

“But there’s no reason to go out and panic buy, you know, the almost bunker level materials at this present time

“And we’ve seen some of the pictures and some of the reports and the queues outside of supermarkets completely are disproportionate to the issues at hand.”



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