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Paranoid Australians continue to clear out shelves at Woolworths and Coles as they stock up on chocolate, canned tuna, bottled water and toilet paper amid coronavirus crisis

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 3/03/2020 Brittany Chain For Daily Mail Australia

a large room: The aisles in Coles in Claremont, Perth were unusually empty on Saturday as shoppers stockpiled the essentials © Provided by Daily Mail The aisles in Coles in Claremont, Perth were unusually empty on Saturday as shoppers stockpiled the essentials Major supermarkets throughout Australia are running out of stock as customers panic buy supplies amid a potential coronavirus outbreak. 

The deadly virus has infected an estimated 90,149 people across 76 countries and killed more than 3,000 - mostly in mainland China.

a person standing in front of a refrigerator: Lucy Bell (left) was shopping at Coles in Perth and said watching all the panic buying made her nervous © Provided by Daily Mail Lucy Bell (left) was shopping at Coles in Perth and said watching all the panic buying made her nervous But as more cases are diagnosed outside China, particularly in Iran, Italy and the United States, authorities are increasingly concerned about the threat of a worldwide pandemic.

Australia's Chief Medical Adviser on Monday warned the nation's strategy no longer includes trying to stop the spread of coronavirus in Australia.

a display in a store: One shopper was shocked to realise her local supermarket in Hornsby, Sydney, was entirely sold out of pasta © Provided by Daily Mail One shopper was shocked to realise her local supermarket in Hornsby, Sydney, was entirely sold out of pasta

Instead, authorities are putting certain travel bans in place and taking the necessary precautions to slow the inevitable spread. 

In response to a potentially catastrophic outbreak, Australians have been racing to stores to prepare for the worst.

Pasta, tinned food, bottled water, toilet paper and hand sanitiser have been the most in-demand items at supermarkets across the nation - and plenty of stores aren't able to keep up with demand.

A Costco in Casula, Sydney, sold out of all toilet paper and bulk bottles of water this week © Provided by Daily Mail A Costco in Casula, Sydney, sold out of all toilet paper and bulk bottles of water this week One Woolworths employee said during his shift, he is constantly getting queries about bulk buying options.

'I work at Woolies packing shelves, I am getting so many requests for 10kg rice, canned vegetables and tuna,' he said. 

Pictures: Coronavirus (COVID 19) outbreak

'As soon as we put some on the shelf they are snatched away, I assume this is all due to the first Australian death to the Coronavirus.'

Others shared photos of bare shelves in Costco stores in Sydney, claiming customers were heading there to strip the shelves of bulk packets of toilet paper and bottled water.  

Westfield Booragoon, in Perth, also experienced bare supermarket shelves after customers began stockpiling

Westfield Booragoon, in Perth, also experienced bare supermarket shelves after customers began stockpiling
© Provided by Daily Mail

On Saturday, Coles in Claremont, Perth, was brimming with people as they stocked up on what was left in store.  

Throughout the region grocers and pharmacies have run out of hand sanitiser. Some stores don't expect more stock until mid week.

One shopper said the hysteria surrounding the outbreak was most concerning.

'There's so many people grabbing stuff. It's kind of intimidating,' Lucy Bell told 7News.

'It kind of worries me, seeing that.' 

a close up of a toy: Pictured: Brisbane Woolworths with pasta shelves entirely empty

Pictured: Brisbane Woolworths with pasta shelves entirely empty
© Provided by Daily Mail

One of Australia's leading survivalists said people should start bulking up their weekly shop before the virus' spread leads to food supply shortages.

'We should always be prepared for food shortages - not just from coronavirus but civil incidences, extreme weather and power outages which will cut us off from supply,' Western Australian survival instructor Bob Cooper told Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday. 

Mr Cooper said Australians should start thinking about whether their food cupboards could sustain them if the supply chain is broken.

'You need to think about things that have a long shelf life: dried fruit, dried foods, cereals, pasta will also last a long time,' he said.

a bunch of luggage sitting on top of a counter: Stock in Tasmanian supermarkets is also running low as people stock up on the basics © Provided by Daily Mail Stock in Tasmanian supermarkets is also running low as people stock up on the basics 'Packets of flour will also allow to make your own bread.'

The hysteria comes as Australia recorded its first coronavirus death on Sunday. 

A 78-year-old man who contracted coronavirus on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship off Japan boarded the doomed cruise in Perth with his wife Iris, who also contracted the virus.

The man died at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital early on Sunday morning after being flown to Perth on February 21.

Australia has also recorded its first human-to-human contact. A doctor in a western Sydney hospital contracted the virus from a man who returned from Iran. 

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