FEARS of a second coronavirus have led to fresh panic buying of toilet paper in Australia, where a more than a million people face lockdown.
The outbreak is centred on Victoria where 17 new cases were recorded and State Premier Daniel Andrews warned there would be “significant” transmission from the new cases.
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One shopper said panic buying was happening again[/caption]
Healthcare employees at a testing facility at Northland shopping centre in Melbourne, Australia[/caption]
Australia has so far escaped the high numbers of casualties seen around the world after acting early to close its borders and imposing strict social distancing measures.
But residents in six areas, Hume and Brimbank, in Melbourne’s north and west, Casey and Cardinia in the city’s southeast and Moreland and Darebin in the north, now face a lockdowns.
About one in five of Victoria’s 6.3 million people live in these areas and face restrictions just as those in the rest of Australia were being gradually eased.
A Black Lives Matter protester and a toddler at a childcare centre were among the new coronavirus cases diagnosed, said Victoria’s health minister Jenny Mikakos.
Shoppers panic buying – and in some cases fighting over – toilet paper is one of the enduring images of the early days of lockdown.
SECOND WAVE PANIC BUYING
Shopper Kate, who didn’t want to use her last name, told news.com.au in the last couple of days she had seen empty shelves including in Casey.
“When I was at the supermarket yesterday, the checkout operator said they had noticed a ‘second wave of panic buying’,” she said.
“At Costco today shelves were emptier too. Lots of toilet paper sold out, cleaning products too. “People buying dozens of bottles of disinfectant. It seemed like overloaded trolleys again and even things like flour were getting low.”
Customers at a Coles in Taylors Hill, in the city’s west, were buying large packs of toilet paper for themselves and for relatives, the Australian reported.
In Brimbank, one resident told the Daily Mail said he had heard about people stockpiling again on the radio and had come down to the shops to grab some rolls before they vanished.
‘I’m not getting caught out again,’ said the man, who reportedly could later be heard calling family members and telling them to stock-up as soon as possible.
Woolworths confirmed demand for staples had increased.
“We‘ve seen elevated demand for toilet roll in a handful of Melbourne stores today,” said a spokesman.
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“We have plenty of stock to draw on in our distribution centres and will replenish shelves in those stores quickly.”
Victoria’s state of emergency has now been extended until July 19 and its Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said the Government was not “ruling anything out”.
“If the numbers keep tracking in this way in these particular hotspot areas we’ll have to consider options like going back to the stay-at-home direction that we had in place for a number of weeks earlier in the year,” she told ABC Radio Melbourne.
A customer at a Melbourne bar getting their temperature read[/caption]