Toilet paper stocks at Woolworths Gladstone Valley. The supermarket giant is limiting customers to four packs per transaction.
Toilet paper stocks at Woolworths Gladstone Valley. The supermarket giant is limiting customers to four packs per transaction.

Coronavirus: Shortages hit Gladstone amid panic buying chaos

Advice not to panic buy is being ignored and stock shortages have hit Gladstone amid the coronavirus outbreak.

One chemist is limiting hand sanitiser to two per person, and another said some face masks had increased in price by more than $30.

It had to change suppliers to source the N95 masks, and the price had increased considerably.

Suppliers are asking for upfront payment and stock is being restricted.

Chemist Warehouse Gladstone reported it didn't have stock of the face masks and it's unknown when supplies will be replenished.

According to advice from the Department for Health, surgical masks are only helpful in preventing people who have coronavirus from spreading it to others.

It recommends practising good hygiene including washing hands with soap and water, covering your mouth when you cough and avoiding close contact with others.

There are also no concessions for people living in rural and regional Australia for Woolworth's nationwide purchase limit on toilet paper.

Customers are restricted to four packs per transaction which applies in store and online, and the supermarket giant said the measure will help shore up stock as suppliers ramp up local production.

There are signs at Woolworth's Gladstone Valley alerting customers to the change, and on Wednesday several shelves were bare.

Hand sanitiser stocks also appeared to be wearing thin.

Today Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the number of domestic cases had grown to 41.

Globally the number has increased to more than 92,000, and the virus has spread to 78 countries.

Earlier this week, chief medical officer Brendan Murphy said the health system was being prepared for any eventuality, but at this stage the number of cases were small.

"There's no reason to go and panic buy, and do things that are unnecessary," he said.

At the same press conference on Tuesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he had been in contact with Coles and Woolies.

"They would send the same message that I'm sending you today. That is, it is important that people just go about their business and their normal processes in a calm manner," he said.

Queensland Health is urging anyone who has been overseas in the last 14 days and is feeling unwell to see a doctor immediately.



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