Yesterday was a stressful day in Australia if one needed to purchase toilet paper. Thanks to the threat of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), people around the country started panic buying products after the prime minister, Scott Morrison, revealed that the disease was close to being updated to pandemic status. However, the need for toilet paper outstripped supply as people rushed to stock up on the item in fear of being quarantined at some point in the future.
According to ABC Australia, the majority of supermarkets in Australia yesterday were completely out of stock for toilet paper. During the day, social media was filled with people talking about the shortage. Some were worried they would run out — or complaining that they had none left. Others were smug in the knowledge that they had secured enough to see them through the crisis.
During conversations, many people mentioned one particular “fact” regarding where toilet paper in Australia comes from. There is a belief that the majority of this product comes from China. As a result of this, people were buying up quickly, worried that importing the essential item would be restricted on account of the coronavirus. Some people even stated that there was plenty of toilet paper but it was being held in quarantine at the docks and would be there for another two weeks in fear that the disease would be transmitted via the product to Australians.
This is simply not the case, however.
As News.com.au points out, 60 percent of toilet paper available in Australia is actually made locally. Kimberly-Clark, who manufactures Kleenex, issued the following statement.
“Kleenex toilet paper for Australia and New Zealand is made at our mill in South Australia so while we are seeing increased demand by consumers, we have sufficient supply.”
Sorbent also insisted that “consumers should be assured of Sorbent Paper’s ability to maintain ample supply of its tissue products of toilet paper, facial tissues, paper towel, and wipes to its retail customers.”
The remaining 40 percent of toilet paper is imported from China. Disruptions caused by the coronavirus have actually interrupted the chain of supply there, creating shortages. However, local industries insist that they will be able to keep up with the demand for the vital product.
If Toilet Paper Is Predominantly Made In Australia, Why Are The Shelves Empty?
— ABC News (@ABC) March 3, 2020
Basically, the issue comes down to supply. With everyone panicking and bulk-buying toilet paper, the demand has seen shelves empty pretty quickly. When a supermarket makes an order for a product, they base it on regular usage. However, even if people decided to only double up on their weekly amount of toilet paper, it would still create a temporary shortage.
Kimberly-Clark has stated that they are currently “working with our customers to replenish supermarket shelves faster.”
Many local supermarkets reported yesterday that they would receive new shipments of stock today and that the shortage of toilet paper should be rectified shortly. However, there are some fears that people will continue to panic buy the product in order to safeguard themselves against perceived further shortages.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Australia is not the only country that is concerned about shortages. In the U.S. there have been reports of outlets such as Costco being stripped of vital products such as toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and canned goods.
Those concerned about the coronavirus and its impact in Australia can visit the Australia government website for details on the virus. Alternatively, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also offer a comprehensive summary of the situation that they update regularly.