'Round two': Panic buying fears as coronavirus hotspots revealed

Brooke Rolfe
News Reporter

Familiar scenes have emerged from inside supermarkets in coronavirus hotspot zones, sparking concern a second round of panic buying is imminent.

A photo from inside a Woolworths near Hillside, northwest of Melbourne, showed an almost bare toilet paper shelf – weeks after supermarkets loosened restrictions enforced during the first wave of panic buying.

Hillside, in the city of Brimbank, is one of many suburbs in six local councils announced by the Victorian government to be coronavirus hotspots on Sunday.

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) identified outbreaks in the local government areas of Hume, Casey, Brimbank, Moreland, Cardinia and Darebin.

“The AHPPC strongly discourages travel to and from those areas until control of community transmission has been confirmed,” the committee said in a statement.

This was the scene inside Woolworths in Hillside, an area identified as a coronavirus hotspot. Source: Facebook

It seems the announcement may have sparked panic among people living in those areas, with some fearful they may soon face another extended lockdown period.

“We are worried we may have to go into another eight-week lockdown so stupid people are panic buying,” the woman who shared the photo to Facebook wrote in a comment.

Others were quick to slam the “selfish” actions of panic buying shoppers, with previous shortages of grocery staples making it particularly difficult for less abled people to get their hands on groceries.

“Just great! The greedy b******s are up for round two it seems and leaves none for others. Why can’t people just buy their weekly worth as normal,” one notably peeved Facebook user wrote.

“No one has learned anything from the first lockdown. Went stupid when restrictions were lifted and spread the virus around, now panicking,” another said.

“The stupidity of some people is unbelievable,” a third wrote.

In another instance, a woman was filmed loading the back of her car with 12 bags of toilet paper in Springvale, southeast of Melbourne – an area not listed as a coronavirus hotspot.

“I deadset thought corona hoarding was over. We’ve just seen this lady come and put five bags of toilet paper in her car. She’s gone back into the supermarket and come back with another seven,” the woman filming was heard saying.

“Deadset, what is this woman doing? Pretty sure coronavirus doesn’t give you the s***s.”

This woman was seen loading her car with 12 packages of toilet paper in Springvale. Source: Facebook

Woolworths confirmed to Yahoo News Australia that a “handful” of stores had experienced higher demand on Tuesday.

“We've seen elevated demand for toilet roll in a handful of Melbourne stores today,” a spokesperson said.

“We have plenty of stock to draw on in our distribution centres and will replenish shelves in those stores quickly.

“We'll continue to keep a close eye on stock levels in the coming days, and ask customers to buy only what they need.”

Despite a recent spike in Victorian cases of COVID-19, NSW will not alter its recovery plan and maintain its open borders, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Monday.

While NSW is seemingly containing the virus, Ms Berejiklian used the spike in cases in Victoria as a “wake-up call”.

“I appreciate what Victoria is going through, but don't assume that it won't happen in NSW or anywhere else,” she said.

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