Toilet paper manufacturers in Australia say the country will be spared from a shortage, even though panicking shoppers are buying extra supplies from big supermarket chains amid coronavirus outbreak fears.r
Kimberly-Clark, which manufactures Kleenex toilet paper, has now increased its production to 24 hours a day at its South Australia factory amid the high demand.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week warned there was “every indication” the world would soon enter “the pandemic phase of the virus”.
“Concerns over the coronavirus contagion has resulted in some panic buying,” a spokesman for the maker of Sorbent toilet paper said.
“Australian 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.”
“Some products may have been depleted from shelves, but replenishment will catch up and there will be no shortage of supply from Sorbent’s Australian production.”
Meanwhile Australia will use a little-known biosecurity law to restrict the movements of people suspected of having the coronavirus, its attorney-general said on Tuesday.
Australia on Monday confirmed the first community transmission of coronavirus after a doctor contracted it. State health officials have said the unidentified doctor has not traveled overseas in months and had not treated any of the other confirmed cases.
Amid fears of a widespread outbreak, Attorney-General Christian Porter said the government will expand the use of a rarely used law that would either designate some places as out of bounds or place the patient in home detention.
“Under the biosecurity act, you could have the prevention of movement from persons in and out of particular places,” Porter told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
“You might have a major sporting event where people would be in very, very close proximity to each other and… it might be determined that the risk of transmission at a venue like that was too high.”
The law, enacted in 2015, has rarely been used outside Australia’s agricultural sector.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week said a pandemic was likely and Australia has moved to try and prevent the virus from reaching its shores.
Australian Financial Review / Reuters