Virus panic hits Aussie supermarkets
Coronavirus panic buying is sweeping through supermarkets and stores in Australia, New Zealand and the USA with shoppers emptying shelves of food, toilet paper, bottled water and hand sanitiser.
Posts on Twitter record stockpiling by panicked locals in North Sydney, the Perth suburb of Claremont, Auckland, New York, San Francisco and Silicon Valley.
Essential foodstuffs like bread, flour and rice, as well as canned beans and tomatoes, pasta, pasta sauce and water have flown off the shelves as both the COVID-19 pandemic and fears about it spread.
A Sydney North Shore supermarket said rice, flour and toilet paper were the "first to go" and "we can't keep up with" supplies of the goods.
In one New Zealand supermarket, every type of bread was stripped from the shelves except gluten free options.
US reports showed completely bare shelves and refrigerated sections in Costco shops where "water, toilet paper, rice, meat … all are disappearing fast".
Shelves emptying in this north shore #sydney supermarket. Rice, flour and toilet paper first to go. Staff say people stockpiling. “We can’t keep up with it.”#coronavirus @australian pic.twitter.com/raPsMT0N7a— Christine Middap (@ChristineMiddap) February 29, 2020
Silicon Valley reported its Trader Joe's shelves were emptied of canned goods.
Completely empty shelves in supermarkets and pharmacies were forcing health professionals in Sydney to order hand sanitiser online.
In a Coles supermarket in Claremont WA, a crowd of shoppers on Saturday fought to grab supplies of hand sanitiser, toilet paper, tinned food and bottled water and cram them into trolleys.
Photographs of the store afterwards showed empty aisles and bare shelves and shoppers reported being intimidated by others pushing in and seizing items.
The situation is predicted to worsen as Australia recorded its first coronavirus fatality, after a man who was in a Perth hospital died on Sunday morning.
The 78-year-old man and his 79-year-old wife, who is in isolation in a Perth hospital, were WA's first two confirmed cases and had contracted the disease on the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
Panic buying has started in Silicon Valley. Local Trader Joe’s shelves empty as people stock up canned beans, diced tomatoes, pasta, pasta sauce amid one #CoronaVirus case in Santa Clara county #COVID19— Sumit Gupta (@SumitGup) February 29, 2020
A total of 23 coronavirus infections have been recorded in Australia to date.
A man who recently returned from Iran to Sydney has tested positive for coronavirus, making him the fifth confirmed case of COVID-19 in NSW.
As coronavirus deaths in Iran spiral upwards, the man becomes Australia's second infected person returning from there to test positive for the virus.
A Gold Coast beautician tested positive after returning from Iran and returning to work at a Southport salon where she treated about 40 clients with facials before falling ill.
This was on the same day Prime Minister Scott Morrison activated a coronavirus emergency response plan for Australia, then imposed an Iran travel ban which came into force today.
Foreign nationals coming from Iran will be forced to spend a fortnight in a third country before being allowed into Australia
Australian citizens and permanent residents will need to isolate themselves for a fortnight after returning from Iran.
Already, foreign nationals who leave China must spend two weeks elsewhere before entering Australia under a government travel restriction.
As of Sunday afternoon, more than 86,980 coronavirus cases had been recorded in the world with 79,824 in China, followed by 3526 in South Korea, 1128 in Italy, 593 in Iran and 241 in Japan.
The world death toll is 2978, with 2761 of those in the Wuhan province Hubei, a total of 56 in other parts of China, 29 in Italy and 17 in South Korea.
“Everything is under control” — Trump— CaliCali2000 (@CaliCali2000) March 1, 2020
Panic buying ensues all over America. Empty shelves in #Costco from NY to SF.
Water, toilet paper, rice, meat ... all are disappearing fast#coronavirus #covid19 pic.twitter.com/ULdEeYbzme
Panic buying reaches the antibac hand wash shelves of Saffron Walden. pic.twitter.com/VX5jWGSt6T— Heather Harris (@hharrisEMEA) February 29, 2020
For the love of biology, people. Please let there not be a run on masks. Some of us need them to do our jobs and to bring you new treatments and interventions for things like... new viral epidemics. https://t.co/QkjGXMe1gU— Dr. Eliza Bliss-Moreau (@eblissmoreau) February 29, 2020