Amid Coronavirus Fears, Shoppers Throw Punches Over Toilet Paper

Amid fears about the global coronavirus outbreak, fights broke out in Australian supermarkets over toilet paper over the past weekend.

The first occurred in a Woolworths supermarket in Sydney after a group of women began grabbing each other's pack of toilet paper. In a video of the fight, which was posted by Nine News Australia, three women can be seen punching and slapping each other. "I just want one packet," one woman yells at the other two, who are pushing a shopping cart filled with toilet paper packages. "No, not one packet," the woman holding the cart says.

Another lady in the background can be heard asking "What's the limit?" just before a worker comes in to break the situation up. According to The Guardian, two women shown in the video spoke to local police and were issued a summons on affray charges.

The fight between the two women comes just after Woolworths announced it would begin rationing toilet paper amid concerns about the spreading coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19. According to a March 8 report by the World Health Organization (WHO), Australia has over 70 confirmed cases and at least three deaths.

The supermarket chain said it had "moved to apply a quantity limit on toilet paper packs," allowing just four packs per customer to "ensure more customers have access to the products."

A similar fight broke out between an older and younger woman in another Australian supermarket. In a video, the older woman can be seen trying to take a toilet paper pack from the younger one. The older woman then slaps the younger woman, causing her to let go of the pack and retreat. The two can be seen in a video posted to Twitter by user Bold_Westie.

Purchasing toilet paper in Farnborough, England, was slightly more civil, although customers were trying to buy as much as possible. The WHO's March report says there are over 200 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom and at least two deaths.

"Panic buying and stockpiling of toilet roll continues. These are the scenes at Costco in Farnborough in Hampshire today. #coronavirus #toiletpaperpanic #panickbuying," wrote Twitter user Adam Clark, along with a video of customers filling their shopping carts with toilet paper packs.

"Toilet paper panic continues in Farnborough Costco," Clark wrote as a reply to his tweet, posting a similar video showing customers grabbing as many packs of toilet paper as they could carry.

The new coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China, continues to spread rapidly worldwide, with over 100,000 confirmed cases and more than 3,000 deaths.

Coronavirus Fears
A shopper passes empty shelves usually stocked with toilet paper in a supermarket in Melbourne, Australia, on March 5. Coronavirus fears have triggered runs on several products, including hand sanitizers and face masks, and images of shoppers stacking carts with toilet rolls are spreading on social media. William West/Getty
Amid Coronavirus Fears, Shoppers Throw Punches Over Toilet Paper | News