Two women in Australia are facing criminal charges after being filmed in a violent altercation over toilet paper at a grocery store over amid a growing trend of people hoarding the commodity due to the ongoing global coronavirus outbreak.
Over the weekend, video of a Saturday scuffle among three women at an Australian supermarket went viral. Video posted on Twitter by Nine News Australia shows a trio of women trading blows and screaming at each other as store employees intervene.
"I just want one pack!" one woman angrily says to another, who is standing beside a shopping cart stacked to the brim with toilet paper, in the video.
"No, not one pack!" the other responds.
#BREAKING: A scuffle broke out at a Woolworths in Chullora this morning with patrons coming to blows over toilet pa… https://t.co/7aUZDuUTIm— Nine News Australia (@Nine News Australia) 1583541477.0
According to Nine News Australia's report on the fight — which took place at a Woolworth's store in the Sydney suburb of Chullora — police charged two of the women involved with "affray" in the matter and they are scheduled to appear in local court in late April. Last week, Woolworth's announced a 4-pack limit for toilet paper customers.
The Daily Mail reported that the two women charged in the incident are a 60-year-old mother and her 23-year-old daughter, and that the altercation reportedly began when the third woman, age 49, tried to take a pack of toilet paper out of the pair's heavily laden shopping cart.
The fight happened on the same weekend that the country's number of confirmed coronavirus cases hit 75 and as toilet paper has become a top hoarding item for those alarmed. A local law enforcement official criticized the incident and urged people not to panic in the wake of Saturday's events.
"It's just bad behavior by people that are panicking, and there's no need for that panic," New South Wales Police acting Inspector Andrew New said of the incident, according to Australia's 7NEWS."It's not the Thunderdome. It's not Mad Max. We don't need to do that."
But virus-related buying isn't just an Australian trend. Last week, a report from the Nielsen marketing research company found that people "around the world are actively stockpiling emergency supplies as concerns grow that the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) could become a worldwide pandemic." This, the company's research also found "significant spikes in the hoarding of emergency supplies is occurring in China, the U.S. and Italy."
According to Sunday numbers from the World Health Organization, the total number of confirmed Coronavirus cases worldwide was over 105,000, while the global death toll stood at 3,584.