Australian supermarkets have re-established a limit on the permitted purchases of toilet paper this Friday, given the recent outbreak of coronavirus cases in the country and the fear that consumers will re-stock the product.
The Woolworths and Coles groups, which together account for two-thirds of grocery sales in Australia, have announced that each customer will be able to purchase a maximum of two packages, after images of empty shelves began to circulate on social media.
Australia, with just 7,500 registered cases and 104 deaths, had begun to relax the containment measures, but this week it has again reported a death by covid-19 and increases in double-digit infections, until it had to deploy about a thousand soldiers in the state of Victoria, the second most populous in the country. The government and health authorities, however, consider that the situation is under control and the country will continue with its plans to gradually resume economic activities.
“Unfortunately, we have started to see a high demand for toilet paper in Victoria in the last 24 hours,” Woolworths supermarket director Claire Peters said in a statement. “We are going to take preventive measures to avoid any excess purchases this weekend.” The company has purchased 650,000 more packages than usual, corresponding to a 30% increase.
The Coles chain, for its part, will limit the purchase of toilet paper to one package per person in establishments across the country, in addition to restrictions on acquiring disinfectant gels, pasta, eggs, rice and other essential goods in the state of Victoria.