‘It’s un-Australian’: Prime Minister Scott Morrison slams ‘ridiculous’ panic buyers stripping supermarket shelves – and says there’s enough food to get through the coronavirus pandemic
- Scott Morrison slammed people hoarding food and supplies at supermarkets
- Panic-buying has seen stores stripped of toilet paper, pasta, and other goods
- ‘It’s ridiculous. It’s un-Australian, and it must stop,’ the Prime Minister said
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
Scott Morrison is urging Australians to stop hoarding food and other supplies as supermarkets struggle to cope with shortages amid a coronavirus pandemic lockdown.
The Prime Minister said the panic-buying chaos sweeping grocery stores across the country has been one of the ‘most disappointing things’ he has seen in ‘Australian behaviour’ in response to this crisis.
The hysteria has seen supermarkets stripped of toilet paper, pasta, rice and frozen food, as well as tinned and other dried goods.
‘Stop hoarding. I can’t be more blunt about it. Stop it,’ Mr Morrison said as he addressed the nation on Wednesday.
‘That is not who we are as a people. It is not necessary. It is not something that people should be doing.
The Prime Minister (pictured) has vowed to keep Australia running as the country prepares for heavy restrictions for the next six months due to the coronavirus
A frustrated man trying to buy toilet paper in a Melbourne Woolworths supermarket after panic buying due to the COVID-19 outbreak
Supermarket shelves across the country have been cleared out as people rush to stockpile on items. Pictured: Empty shelves at Woolworths
‘What it does is it is distracting attention and efforts that need to be going into other measures, to be focusing on how we maintain supply chains into these shopping centres.
‘It’s ridiculous. It’s un-Australian, and it must stop, and I would ask people to do the right thing by each other in getting a handle on these sorts of practices.’
Mr Morrison also asked people to stop ‘abusing staff’ after footage emerged online of customers verbally attacking supermarket employees because they couldn’t locate goods.
Panic-buying has caused stress and frustration amongst elderly shoppers, many of whom find it difficult to make frequent visits to supermarkets for essential goods.
An indefinite ban on travel
Ban on non-essential gatherings of more than 100
Schools will be kept open
20,000 international student nurses will be put to work
Aged care visits shortened and limited to two people per day
Australia’s major supermarket chains also banded together on Wednesday to plead with customers to be considerate of each other and treat staff members respectfully.
Aldi, Coles, IGA and Woolworth said they were doing everything they could to get as much produce on the shelves as possible, often under difficult circumstances.
‘So we ask you to please be considerate in the way you shop,’ the ad says.
‘We understand your concerns, but if you buy only what you need and stick to the product limits it helps everyone, especially the elderly and people with disability.’
The Prime Minister announced a raft of new measures to combat the spread of the deadly coronavirus which has killed five and infected 456 in Australia.
Australians have been banned from travelling overseas, for the first time in history.
Elderly shoppers are seen waiting outside Woolworths in Sunbury for the dedicated shopping hour
‘We are upgrading the travel ban on Australians to level 4 for the entire world. That is the first time that has ever happened in Australia’s history,’ he said.
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 456
New South Wales: 210
South Australia: 32
Western Australia: 31
Northern Territory: 1
Australian Capital Territory: 3
TOTAL CASES: 456
‘The travel advice to every Australian is do not travel abroad. Do not go overseas.’
The Prime Minister also said non-essential gatherings of more 100 people indoors and 500 people outdoors have been banned.
The ban does not apply to public transport, medical facilities, prisons, parliaments, supermarkets, constructions sites, mining sites and other essential gatherings.
Mr Morrison warned Australia ‘won’t look like it normally does’ for the next six months.
‘We are looking at a situation of at least six months for how we deal with this. It could be much longer than that,’ he said.
However, Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said a total lockdown as seen in Italy, France and Spain was not required.
‘A short-term two-to-four week shut down of society is not recommended by any of our experts. It does not achieve anything. We have to be in this for the long haul,’ he said.
Australian travellers were urged to make their way back home as soon as possible and ‘reconsider their need for travelling’