Australia has reported 64 Covid-19 cases, along with two fatalities as of March 7. Panic has set in with the virus having spread to over 90 countries and a massive surge in cases outside China. Panicked Australians, for some reason, are stock-piling toilet papers, resulting in a shortage of the commodity in markets. This has led to Aussies engaging in violent brawls, to just grab a roll of toilet paper.
Australians fight over toilet paper
Several videos have emerged online showcasing Australians brawl of toilet paper. In one such video, three women can be seen pulling each others' hair, hitting each other in a supermarket at Sydney. "I just want one packet," says a woman, outrightly denied by two others with a cart full of toilet paper.
Two staff members had to intervene to end the brawl. Police was later called, but no one was arrested. "It's not the Thunderdome, it's not Mad Max. We don't need to do that," Acting Inspector Andrew New from New South Wales police told reporters, referring to the post-apocalyptic action films", Straits Times reported. Several similar videos have appeared online.
Videos also showcase people stockpiling toilet paper. As a result, several supermarkets have run out of toilet paper supplies. On March 6, Australia's NT newspaper took a humorous dig at the issue and left eight of its page completely blank. This was to provide people with what they needed the most.
Shopper pulls out a knife
Earlier this week, a shopper pulled out a knife at a fellow customer, over an argument over toilet paper, in western Sydney. Police was called immediately and no injuries were reported. Several supermarkets have put a cap on the number of rolls a customer can buy.
Speaking on the issue, Australia's chief medical officer, Professor Brendan Murphy, told the Parliament on Wednesday that panic buying toilet paper wasn't a "proportionate or sensible thing to do at this time".
"We are trying to reassure people that removing all of the lavatory paper from the shelves of supermarkets probably isn't a proportionate or sensible thing to do at this time", he said. "We are a well-prepared health system but even the best-prepared health systems can face a challenge if you have large outbreaks", he added.