This 'isn't Mad Max,' Australian police say after 3 women get into a brawl while panic-buying toilet paper during coronavirus epidemic
Police in New South Wales, Australia, are urging people to not give in to violence amid the global coronavirus outbreak. Three women got into a fight over toilet paper, complete with screaming and hair-pulling, in the Woolworths Supermarket on Saturday. Video from the scene shows a woman saying, "I just want one packet." But the person with the cartful of toilet paper says, "No, not one packet." "We just ask that people don't panic like this when they go out shopping. There is no need for it. It isn't the Thunderdome, it isn't Mad Max, we don't need to do that," Acting Police Inspector Andrew New said. Panicked over COVID-19, shoppers are stocking up on groceries and basic necessities, leading to long lines and empty shelves at stores around the world.
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A trio of women got into a scuffle in an Australian supermarket on Saturday morning over toilet paper. The incident occurred at a Woolworths store in Chullora, New South Wales, and led to police being called to the scene, the Guardian reported. A video of the altercation was shared on social media by Nine News Australia and reveals the shoppers screaming and shoving each other over a cartful of rolls. "Get off me," a woman yells in the footage, which also shows one woman yanking another's hair. After they stop brawling, a woman says, "I just want one packet." But the person with the cart filled with toilet paper responds by saying, "No, not one packet." The video shows bystanders watching the brawl unfold as a pair of employees tried to separate the women, and calling the police. "Look at what you're doing" over some "tissues," one of the Woolworths workers can be overheard saying.
#BREAKING: A scuffle broke out at a Woolworths in Chullora this morning with patrons coming to blows over toilet paper, forcing employees to intervene. Bankstown police attended the scene and no charges have been laid. #9News pic.twitter.com/9TmDAStb9D — Nine News Australia (@9NewsAUS) March 7, 2020
More than 101,000 people have been infected by the ever-worsening coronavirus outbreak, which has now affected every continent except Antarctica. The panic has triggered shoppers to stock up on groceries and basic necessities, leading to long lines and empty shelves at stores. In the United States, the demand for items, including face masks, hand sanitizer, oat milk, toilet paper, water, thermometers, and a variety of snacks has surged, according to Nielsen data. At the end of January, the sales of hand sanitizer spiked by 428% when compared to the same period last year. "We just ask that people don't panic like this when they go out shopping. There is no need for it. It isn't the Thunderdome, it isn't Mad Max, we don't need to do that," said Andrew New, an acting police inspector in New South Wales, according to the Guardian. Such violence "will not be tolerated" and those who are caught in tussles will end up in court, New stressed, adding, "There is no need for people to go out and panic buy at supermarkets, paracetamol and canned food or toilet paper." No one has been arrested, but police are asking for people to identify the women involved in the argument. Just days ago, Woolworths began rationing toilet paper and rice because shoppers were cleaning out their shelves. "We will not tolerate violence of any kind from our customers in our stores and we are working with police who are investigating the matter," a Woolworths spokesperson said. Saturday's incident follows Abdu Sharkawy, an infectious disease expert from Canada, going viral for saying that people's selfishness — evidenced by the theft of face masks and hoarding of household items — could make an already dire situation worse. "I am not scared of Covid-19," he wrote on Facebook. "What I am scared about is the loss of reason and wave of fear that has induced the masses of society into a spellbinding spiral of panic, stockpiling obscene quantities of anything that could fill a bomb shelter adequately in a post-apocalyptic world."
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