Coles brings in emergency buying limits for TOILET PAPER, paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin


Coles brings in emergency buying limits for TOILET PAPER, paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin as panicked Aussies strip shelves bare and short-staffed stores struggle with demand

  • Coles introduces buying limits on over-the-counter painkillers amid shortages
  • Top doctor’s call for Australians to stock up on Panadol sparks panic buying
  • Supermarkets struggle to find staff as Australia recorded 90,000 Covid cases


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Coles has brought in purchase limits in every one of its stores across the country, as supermarkets battle to keep shelves stocked in the face of Australia’s growing Covid crisis.

Toilet paper, paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin will now be limited in it’s 800 stores with Australia recording a further 90,000 Covid cases on Tuesday.

The worrying development comes after Deputy chief heath officer Professor Michael Kidd urged Australians on Monday to be prepared for potential infections of the milder Omicron strain by having over-the-counter medicines handy.

The warning only inflamed a wave of panic-buying reminiscent of the toilet paper hoarding of 2020 – with images showing supermarket shelves stripped bare.

Coles has brought in purchase limits in every one of its stores across the country, as supermarkets battle to keep shelves stocked in the face of Australia's growing Covid crisis

Coles has brought in purchase limits in every one of its stores across the country, as supermarkets battle to keep shelves stocked in the face of Australia's growing Covid crisis

 Coles has brought in purchase limits in every one of its stores across the country, as supermarkets battle to keep shelves stocked in the face of Australia’s growing Covid crisis

Paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin will now be limited in Coles 800 stores across Australia

Paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin will now be limited in Coles 800 stores across Australia

Paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin will now be limited in Coles 800 stores across Australia 

WHAT ARE THE NEW BUYING LIMITS AT COLES? 

Paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin will be limited to 2 packs per shopper.

Toilet paper will be restricted to just 1 pack.

Coles said the move will help ‘maintain availability and make it fair for everyone’

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While a rush to buy is part of the problem, the supply chain crunch is also being compounded by staff shortages as thousands of workers are forced to isolate due to Covid.

Distribution centres are struggling to find drivers and packers while supermarket stores are also finding it tough to get workers.  

‘To maintain availability & make it fair for everyone we’ve introduced national purchase limits: toilet paper (1 pack) and select medicinal items (paracetamol, ibuprofen, aspirin) (2 packs),’ Coles said in a statement on Tuesday.

‘Please continue to treat our team with kindness & respect and only purchase what you need.’ 

Frustrated customers have taken to social media in recent days after finding empty shelves at Australian supermarket chains.

‘No Panadol on the shelves at my local Woolworths yesterday – stripped bare,’ one person wrote to Twitter on Monday.

‘Use Panadol they say. There’s no Panadol to buy at Coles, at Woolworths, at the 4 local chemists or at Aldi. There is no Nurofen either,’ another person said.

‘So the local Woolworths was saying they had Rapid Antigen Tests. Husband went down. Nope no RATs. All gone. Also no Panadol, Nurofen or any other painkillers. Well done Greg Hunt. This is how you create that hoarding sh** you were talking about,’ added a third.

Another person added they had searched for Panadol on the Woolworths online site and the item was unavailable.

Professor Kidd said at a media conference that with the prevalence of the Omicron strain, many Australians would likely test positive to Omicron over the next few weeks.

‘With the rising case numbers we’ve seen over the past week in many parts of the country, it’s likely that many of us will test positive for Covid-19 over the coming days and weeks if we haven’t already done so,’ he said.

He said that having some over-the-counter medicines around would help with mild aches and fevers that can be associated with the variant. 

‘The first thing to do is to be prepared. My advice is that you make sure you have some paracetamol or ibuprofen at home.’

‘It’s important to be prepared because you won’t be able to go to your supermarket or pharmacy if you are diagnosed with Covid-19.’ 

Professor Kidd added that drinking plenty of water is also essential and adding electrolyte powder such as Hydralite could also be beneficial. 

Shoppers took to Twitter to vent their frustration after being unable to buy Panadol (pictured)

Shoppers took to Twitter to vent their frustration after being unable to buy Panadol (pictured)

Shoppers took to Twitter to vent their frustration after being unable to buy Panadol (pictured) 

The panic-buying is reminiscent of toilet paper and paper towels being hoarded in 2020

The panic-buying is reminiscent of toilet paper and paper towels being hoarded in 2020

The panic-buying is reminiscent of toilet paper and paper towels being hoarded in 2020 

While he said most cases could be mild ‘some might become seriously unwell’ so it was still important to isolate if you test positive and seek medical advice if stronger symptoms develop. 

The increasing Covid case numbers and subsequent isolation requirements have put pressure on food manufacturers along with the transport and retail sector.

Coles last week also reintroduced temporary buying limits on meat and poultry.

A spokesperson told AAP it was expected to take several weeks before things returned to normal.

The latest national cabinet meeting resulted in changes to testing requirements for truck drivers, removing the need for a PCR test every seven days.

The prime minister said the decision was key to ensuring food distribution networks could continue moving.

‘We need truckies keeping on trucking … to keep moving things around,’ he told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.

Woolworths boss Brad Banducci has assured customers there's plenty of stock but have been hampered by supply chain issues as shelves being stripped bare across the country

Woolworths boss Brad Banducci has assured customers there's plenty of stock but have been hampered by supply chain issues as shelves being stripped bare across the country

Woolworths boss Brad Banducci has assured customers there’s plenty of stock but have been hampered by supply chain issues as shelves being stripped bare across the country

Transport Workers Union national secretary Michael Kaine told AAP the industry welcomed the changes to testing which had been putting significant pressure on the sector.

But he said transport workers needed priority access to rapid tests to keep the industry moving.

‘These tests are an important weapon in the fight against the virus, and without them, the virus is hitching a ride through transport supply chains, putting workers and the industry in danger,’ he said.

The Victorian Farmers Federation called on the federal government to rethink isolation rules for workers in the industry as had been done for healthcare workers.

President Emma Germano said asymptomatic workers deemed close contacts of Covid-19 cases should have their isolation period reduced to lessen the pressure on food supply chains.

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