The spread of the novel coronavirus – that has killed over 3,000 globally – has sparked concerns across nations but has also prompted people across the world to start stockpiling on certain items. These include items like hand sanitizers and face masks that help in preventing the spread of the virus, to unusual items like toilet paper and condoms.
Toilet paper buying
As fears rose over the spread of the virus in Australia, there was “panic buying” of toilet paper. BBC reported a sudden surge in the purchase of toilet paper forcing some supermarket chains in Sydney to implement a four-pack buying limit. One person reportedly has to be tasered to break up a fight.
The panic buying comes despite Australia manufacturing its own toilet paper and having sufficient reserves of rolls.
The panic buying and queues were documented by several pictures of people stockpiling essentials are being shared on social media using hashtags such as #toiletpapergate and #toiletpapercrisis.
— Victoria Here Comes the Roaring 20s (@vthieberger) March 5, 2020
Australia isn’t even the first nation to see such panic buying of toilet paper. Fearing shortages similar panic buying was seen in Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong. There’s also been a surge in the sale of rolls in the US as the number of cases rise.
— Jarrod Watt (@Jay_Watt) February 28, 2020
US Residents panic buying toilet paper at Costco in Honolulu, Hawaii as the first coronavirus outbreak emerges in Washington State.
— The Epoch Times Hong Kong (@EpochTimesHK) March 1, 2020
— James V. Gingerich (@jamesvgingerich) February 27, 2020
According to a report in The Sun, there has been a spike in the sale of home entertainment kits such as video games and yoga mats. But there’s also been a spike in condom sales.
An unverified picture of an empty shelf displaying contraceptives was posted on Facebook page Ryde District Mums by a Sydney resident Thanh Thai along with a caption, “Can anybody please tell me what happened?” reported The Daily Mail.
According to the news website, the surge in the sale of condom packets began after a viral post encouraged people to use them on their fingers to avoid getting infected by the coronavirus.
Condoms in Singapore sold out amidst coronavirus fear. Since Singaporeans have been using the condom as a protective measure when touching the elevator buttons in their apartments and other buildings to prevent being contaminated. pic.twitter.com/uGfghE4ZNy
— Siddharth Misra (@sidart_misra) February 13, 2020
Several sources have claimed that shops are running out of condoms as people use them to protect their fingers when pressing public buttons or touching common property like handrails. #9Newshttps://t.co/2JyUOhmlSH
— Nine News Gold Coast (@9NewsGoldCoast) March 5, 2020
Baking and roasting equipment
While Chinese e-commerce sites Pinduoduo observed that the hair cutting kits and condoms were their most popular items, another website JD.com noted a surge in the sales of their baking and roasting equipment, Reuters reported.
What health officials are saying
Following the virus outbreak, there have been several guidelines issued by health agencies advising people to practice good hygiene to prevent the virus from spreading including regularly washing hands, wearing masks and using hand sanitizers. However, masks should be used only by those infected, those suspected to be infected or those providing medical assistance to people. (Here’s all you need to know)
The sudden surge in demand for has also resulted in shortages and hiked prices.
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