Calls for calm amid Coronavirus Panic

Empty+toilet+paper+shelves+at+Coles+in+Claremont.

Tim Cornish

Empty toilet paper shelves at Coles in Claremont.

Tim Cornish, Journalist

The panic was highlighted in a video of a fight between two customers in a Sydney Woolworths. The video featured two women arguing over toilet paper rolls before they struck out.

Associate Professor of Disaster and emergency response at Edith Cowan University, Erin Smith says the panic isn’t justified but it is understandable.

“[Panic buying is a] normal response to an abnormal situation,” she says.

But she warns we haven’t seen the worst of it yet.

“[Panic] can cause people to engage in behaviour we don’t want to see.”

Professor Smith is urging calm planning and preparation as the coronavirus outbreak grows.