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Shocking photos show Woolworths shelves stripped of paracetamol and toilet paper hours after Scott Morrison issued coronavirus pandemic warning - as chemists sell out of hand sanitiser

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 27/02/2020 Louise Ayling For Daily Mail Australia

Video provided by ABC News

Shocking photos have emerged showing Woolworths shelves stripped of medicine, toilet paper and food staples amid rising panic over coronavirus. 

Customers were greeted with near empty aisles when they arrived at the supermarket giant's Bondi store in Sydney on Thursday night.

The grocery store appeared to be struggling to keep the shelves stocked with paracetamol, toilet paper, tea, milk, pasta, oats and rice crackers. 

a store shelf filled with books: Basic medical supplies, toilet paper and food staples are flying off the shelves as panicked shoppers stockpile goods amid growing fear around the coronavirus © Provided by Daily Mail Basic medical supplies, toilet paper and food staples are flying off the shelves as panicked shoppers stockpile goods amid growing fear around the coronavirus a screenshot of a computer: Tea, Milk, pasta (pictured) oats and rice crackers were also in low supply at the Eastern Suburbs branch of the supermarket giant © Provided by Daily Mail Tea, Milk, pasta (pictured) oats and rice crackers were also in low supply at the Eastern Suburbs branch of the supermarket giant

Just hours earlier Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the federal government would be launching an emergency response plan to deal with the virus, and warned 'the risk of a global pandemic is upon us'. 

Daily Mail Australia has contacted Woolworths for comment.  

Meanwhile Priceline stores have run out of hand sanitiser as fears grow over the development of a global pandemic. 

Increased demand has forced some chemists to ration supplies, including a number of Priceline stores in Sydney which are limiting the number of products customers can buy. 

The pharmacy chain is also experiencing shortages of the product online, with 26 different types of antibacterial hand sanitiser completely sold out. 

a bunch of items that are on display in a store: Milk was one of the first things to go

Milk was one of the first things to go
© Provided by Daily Mail

Priceline's Wynyard store manager Yucando Garcia told 9news they've been struggling to meet demand. 

'We have actually been out of stock for a good three weeks. Anytime we get a little bit of stock, maybe 12-24 in one day, they go,' Mr Garcia said. 

'We obviously say to each person there is a maximum of two or three because we want everybody to be able to buy some.'

A Priceline spokesperson said any decision to limit customer purchases around hand sanitiser are made by individual stores.

The spokesperson said the rationing is not a directive among stores across the company. 

The Wynyard chemist has sold about 75 1L bottles of hand sanitiser in the past month, when it would normally only sell five. 

Australia's supermarkets are facing a similar shortage of the products.

a person standing in front of a store: A Priceline spokesperson told 9news any decision to limit customer purchases around hand sanitiser are made by individual stores © Provided by Daily Mail A Priceline spokesperson told 9news any decision to limit customer purchases around hand sanitiser are made by individual stores

A Woolworths spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia said they're working to get the product back on the shelf as the chain struggles to meet high demand. 

'We are currently experiencing shortages of some antibacterial hand wash and sanitiser products in our stores due to higher than usual customer demand,' the spokesperson said. 

'We are working very closely with our suppliers to get these products back on shelves as quickly as possible.' 

At rival Coles, it's a similar story- and they're also reporting low stock of items like stationary, clothing and electrical goods. 

a display in a store: A sign posted outside of Chemist Warehouse's store in Chatswood reading 'no masks available, out of stock' © Provided by Daily Mail A sign posted outside of Chemist Warehouse's store in Chatswood reading 'no masks available, out of stock'

A Coles Spokesperson told 9news they have been impacted by challenges overseas.  

Why medical supplies are selling out

Face masks have been in high demand over the bushfire season

Now, face masks are seeing increased demand due to corona virus fears

However, face masks are not 100% effective as they do not completely seal off the mouth and nose 

Face masks are more effective at quarantining an infected person 

Professionals say that washing your hands is the best protection as it can stop virus from spreading 

Pictures: COVID-19 outbreak

This is why hand sanitisers are selling out across Australia  

'Logistics remain challenging, especially through some major ports and, like most retailers, we have been impacted by the extension of Chinese New Year, which saw factories closed for longer than planned and delays in production due to staff requiring government permits to return to work' the spokesperson said.   

The shortage of hand sanitiser and face masks started in January as hysteria began to set in around the coronavirus outbreak.  

Images from Chemist Warehouse's store in Chatswood last month showed shelves empty of hand sanitiser and face masks.  

A representative from Chemist Warehouse Chatswood previously told Daily Mail Australia they were uncertain when stock would be back on the shelf after selling out.

'Masks have been in really high demand,' the representative said. 'Since the beginning of January, the masks have been in short supply.'

Chatswood Chemist Warehouse received a  delivery of face masks in the beginning of January and ran out before the end of the month.

The retailer has been trying to order more every day to keep up with customer's demand. 

Chemist Warehouse Chatswood stock ten different brands of hand sanitiser, and all had been sold out on January 30.

Their delivery at the start of January lasted less than one day, with the entire shipment of stock being sold out in one morning's trade.

a group of people in a store: Signs have been put up in chemists around the country including Chemist Warehouse in Chatswood to notify customers that there are no supplies of face masks and hand sanitisers © Provided by Daily Mail Signs have been put up in chemists around the country including Chemist Warehouse in Chatswood to notify customers that there are no supplies of face masks and hand sanitisers a book store: A sign posted in a Chemist Warehouse store in Brisbane, where no face masks were available © Provided by Daily Mail A sign posted in a Chemist Warehouse store in Brisbane, where no face masks were available

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