Coronavirus triggers global toilet paper shortage as thousands stockpile basics

Shortages of toilet paper have been reported around the world as the coronavirus outbreak causes thousands to stockpile many basic goods.

Images posted on social media show low supplies of bog roll in a number of different countries.

It comes as British supermarkets are reported to have drawn up contingency "feed the nation" plans over fears panic-buying shoppers will cause shortages on the high street.

Shopper Sharon Reilly photographed shelves in Massachusetts in the US, noting that the toilet paper stocks were running low.

She added that "all the bleach was gone too".

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Sharon said: "It did not make me feel like I needed to stockpile.

"It made me sad that people are clearly scared."

Meanwhile, Franziska Heintel shared photos of empty supermarket shelves in the German capital Berlin.

"I'm not sure if it's an accurate representation and I don't want to make people panic even more," she said.

"There's probably plenty of stores here that didn't sell out of stuff yet.

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"I was just super shocked and surprised to see this when I was just doing some regular shopping."

There were similar scenes in various parts of Australia, where "toilet paper" began trending on Twitter.

Shopper Anna Stubbs tweeted: "The world's gone mad! Three supermarkets — no toilet roll!

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"Last I heard coronavirus causes a flu-like illness not wild, explosive diarrhoea!"

She added that she had "scored possibly the last pack in the whole of Brisbane!"

In the UK, supermarket delivery service Ocado warned that it was seeing more people than usual are "placing particularly large orders".

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A number of experts have warned shoppers not to panic-buy, for fear of causing more fear and leading to genuine shortages.

Sir Patrick Vallance, the government's chief scientific adviser, said: "I think the advice is that there is absolutely no reason to be doing any panic buying of any sort or going out and keeping large supplies of things.

"Clearly there will be measures in cases of household quarantine for making sure food is in the right place at the right time.

"We imagine that could be a rolling case of household quarantine if that measure becomes necessary, and clearly things will need to be in place for care homes and so on if that decision is made."

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