‘Don’t panic!’: Loo paper firm begs

By | March 4, 2020

The public is being urged to remain calm and stop stockpiling toilet paper as Australia’s coronavirus cases continue to climb above 40.

Kimberly-Clark, which manufactures Kleenex toilet paper, is opening up its manufacturing lines in South Australia to deal with shortages.

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“Australia, don’t panic! We are working around the clock at our mill in South Australia to keep the supermarket shelves stocked … As you can see we won’t be running out anytime soon,” the company said on Facebook alongside a photograph of toilet paper in its warehouse.

An Aldi spokeswoman said the company is monitoring the situation but no restrictions are currently in place.

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NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says while the escalation in cases is concerning people should not panic.

“All of us should take the advice of the health experts, no doubt about it,” the Liberal leader said on Wednesday.

“But we should also go about our business and not panic – and that’s the strongest message we can send.

“It’s really important for us to take a precautionary approach. We’ve put in place everything we can to contain the spread.” Ms Berejiklian said there was no issue with toilet paper supply in NSW and the public should refrain from bulk buying at supermarkets.

“People should just go about their daily business in terms of the products they purchase and I don’t see a need to do that (bulk buy) at this stage,” she said. NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard called the public reaction to the virus “quite ridiculous”, reminding people it is only a 14-day quarantine period. “There’s always enough products here. We have amazing supply chains. Woolies, ALDI, Coles – they’re all getting stuff to us,” Mr Hazzard told reporters on Wednesday.

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“It (quarantine) ain’t going to change. So if you have 14 days off it’s not like you’re going to be there for six months. It’s 14 days. It’s just a bit silly.” Retail giant Woolworths will limit customers to four packs of toilet paper per transaction after supermarket shelves were stripped in recent days. Prime Minister Scott Morrison is urging Australians to stay calm despite the spread of COVID-19 and on Tuesday consulted with Woolworths and Coles about the virus’ impact on supply chains and consumer behaviour.

Woolworths said in a statement the four-pack loo roll limit – both in-store and online – would shore up stock levels in the face of “higher than usual demand”. “Woolworths has today moved to apply a quantity limit on toilet paper packs to ensure more customers have access to these products,” the company said. Coles said it was talking to suppliers, government stakeholders and transport partners to determine how best to improve availability on popular products such as long-life pantry staples and healthcare items.

“We have increased deliveries from our distribution centres and our teams are working hard to fill the shelves as quickly as possible,” a Coles spokeswoman told AAP in a statement.

“While there may be some temporary stock shortages, the vast majority of products in our stores and via Coles online remain available for customers.” Costco managing director Patrick Noone says there has been an influx of customers across all warehouses this week, with transaction limits placed on toilet paper, milk, eggs, rice and soap products.

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“We are reviewing and changing this regularly as needed,” Mr Noone said in a statement on Wednesday.

An Aldi spokeswoman said the company is monitoring the situation but no restrictions are currently in place.

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