Coronavirus concerns appear to have created an international rush for toilet paper, with social media images showing low supplies in a number of countries.
Shoppers have begun to stockpile items due to the spread of the virus, despite authorities insisting it would not be necessary to do so.
Sharon Reilly photographed a shop in Massachusetts, United States, noting that toilet paper stocks were running low while “all the bleach was gone too”.
She told the PA news agency: “It did not make me feel like I needed to stockpile. It made me sad that people are clearly scared.”
I wasnât trying to stockpile. My family actually just needed toilet paper. Had to leave with just a 12 pack of our brand. All the bleach was gone too. People be crazy. pic.twitter.com/hH0HGQCcrF— Sharon Reilly (@violacay) March 3, 2020
Franziska Heintel shared photos of empty supermarket shelves in Berlin.
She told PA: “I’m not sure if it’s an accurate representation and I don’t want to make people panic even more. There’s probably plenty of stores here that didn’t sell out of stuff yet.
“I was just super shocked and surprised to see this when I was just doing some regular shopping.”
Berlinâs mayor: âThere is no need for #Hamsterkaeufe (shop huge amounts to stock them at home)â— Franziska Heintel (@_franzihei) March 3, 2020
Also Berlin: *buys all of the toilet paper, hand sanitizers and rice/flour/pasta they can get*#Coronavirusgermany pic.twitter.com/vNB7CzgVrg
Many more similar scenes were spotted in various parts of Australia, where “toilet paper” began trending.
Anne Stubbs tweeted: “The world’s gone mad! 3 supermarkets – no toilet roll! Last I heard #coronavirus causes a flu-like illness not wild, explosive diarrhoea!
“Scored possibly the last pack in the whole of Brisbane!” she added.
Can somebody please explain to me why half of Australia randomly decided to stockpile on toilet paper today????— Mackenzie🍒 (@mayoshoujo) March 3, 2020
The UK Government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said there was no need for Britons to follow suit.
“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,” he told reporters.
“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.”
His comments came after Ocado warned that more people than usual are “placing particularly large orders”.