Stampede breaks out at Sydney Woolworths for toilet paper

A stampede broke out in a Sydney Woolworths after a flurry of desperate shoppers emptied the shelves of toilet paper in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

The store in Revesby, in Sydney's south west, was full of anxious shoppers who were filmed piling packets of toilet paper into their trolleys.

Dramatic footage showed customers reaching over each other, carrying two 12-packs at a time before racing back for more.

Woolworths was forced to introduce a four-packet limit per customer on Wednesday after customers started stockpiling bulk amounts of toilet paper.

One Aldi store even enforced a radical one-packet per person toilet paper limit after shoppers stormed its aisles in a panic.  

A stampede broke out at a Sydney Woolworths store as customers fought over toilet paper

A stampede broke out at a Sydney Woolworths store as customers fought over toilet paper

Management from the Aldi store in Epping, in Sydney's north-west, put up a sign reading: 'Only 1 toilet paper per sale.'  

'Any customers coming in again that is recognised to have already purchased within 24 hours will be refused as everyone deserves some toilet paper not just a few.' 

Woolworths said their four-packet limit would apply in-store and online.

'It will help shore up stock levels as suppliers ramp up local production and deliveries in response to higher than usual demand,' the supermarket chain said in a statement. 

'Our teams are continuing to work hard on restocking stores with long-life food and groceries from our distribution centres.' 

Coles are yet to announce any limitations on their toilet paper.

On other occasions, people have jokingly been selling toilet paper online for as much as $24,000 - as seen on Facebook Marketplace.

Others were selling toilet paper for around $1,000 and $699. 

An Aldi in Epping, Sydney has placed a one toilet packet per person rule on shoppers

An Aldi in Epping, Sydney has placed a one toilet packet per person rule on shoppers

It's understood Australians are rushing to stock pile the household staple in fears that coronavirus will disrupt the manufacturing of toilet paper - 40 per cent of which is made in China, the epicentre of the outbreak.

It comes as the killer coronavirus threatens to become a global pandemic, with 3,100 people already dead and more than 92,000 infected.

Of 10,000 people across Australia to have been tested for the virus, there are 41 confirmed cases, with 21 now cleared. 

Toilet roll in particular is racing off shelves, with the country's biggest manufacturers, Kimberly-Clark, scrambling together a 24-hour production line.

It hopes the round-the-clock production will help to slow the panic, as Australian families stock up fearing a total supermarket shutdown.

This is despite toilet paper being produced on mass in Australia, and no supermarkets reporting a shortage.

Tim Woods, the managing director of market analyst Industry Edge, told Perth Now Australia imported 40 per cent of its toilet paper from China but the rest was manufactured locally.

'There might be a one-off hit to what's on the shelves, but is that going to continue today, tomorrow and so on? I doubt it,' he said.

'People will go and buy extra packs and then they'll go and look in their cupboards and go why have I got 90 rolls?'.

Shoppers at Costco Marsden Park, north-west of Sydney, lined up from one end of the store to another to buy toilet paper on Wednesday

Shoppers at Costco Marsden Park, north-west of Sydney, lined up from one end of the store to another to buy toilet paper on Wednesday 

The toilet paper aisle was completely empty at Coles in Gladesville on Tuesday afternoon amid coronavirus panic buying

The toilet paper aisle was completely empty at Coles in Gladesville on Tuesday afternoon amid coronavirus panic buying

Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said most of the cases in Australia were in people who had come from other affected countries and there was only 'limited community transmission'.  

'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 told a Senate hearing on Wednesday.

'We are a well-prepared health system but even the best-prepared health systems can face a challenge if you have large outbreaks.'

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is urging people to go about their normal lives but use common sense.

'They don't have to not turn up to the footy, or go out for a Chinese meal or any of these things,' he told Nine.

Mr Morrison is expected to announce an economic stimulus package within days, as the virus wreaks havoc on Australian trade, supply chains and businesses across the country.

'What we need to do is ensure that with the fiscal response that we will provide and which I flagged last week, that we'd be delivering, that it is very targeted, that it's very measured and it's very scalable,' he told the ABC.

'We'll be announcing those soon and we'll be announcing the key areas we will be targeting at that time.'

This picture, shared on Facebook, shows shoppers panic buying toilet roll in Australia (pictured) amid fears supermarkets could soon run out

This picture, shared on Facebook, shows shoppers panic buying toilet roll in Australia (pictured) amid fears supermarkets could soon run out

Australia is considering travel bans for South Korea and where coronavirus outbreaks have taken hold.

'Broad travel bans on many countries are unlikely to do more than slow the rate of importation, and they have a lot of other consequences and they're hard to enforce,' Dr Murphy said.

He noted the bans only applied to people who weren't Australian citizens or residents and said most cases of Australians who had been in Iran wouldn't have been stopped by any travel ban.

'Iran seems to be a huge outbreak and it's a matter of just reducing the burden on the Australian health system,' he said.

'I think everyone believes that the case numbers are very materially understated in Iran.'

Toilet roll aisles were completely empty on Tuesday (pictured) after a panic buying spree

Woolworth staff members unpack fresh delivery of toilet paper as shelves run dry (pictured)

Shelves are bare across multiple Australian supermarkets (pictured, left) as worried families stockpile toilet roll (right)

Mr Morrison has asked for a reassessment of travel and border control arrangements for higher-risk groups in those countries.

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