Police in Hong Kong mentioned they’ve arrested two armed robbers who stole 600 rolls of bathroom paper exterior a grocery store—an indication of simply how scarce the essential necessity has change into amid panic shopping for because of the coronavirus outbreak.
In keeping with native media, a truck driver was delivering the bathroom paper rolls to a grocery store within the Mong Kok neighborhood at roughly 5 a.m. About an hour later, three knife-wielding males of their 20s carrying caps and face masks confirmed up. Certainly one of them threatened the motive force with two knives as the opposite two loaded about 50 packs of bathroom paper—or 600 rolls—onto a cart.
The bathroom paper was later discovered stashed in a close-by guesthouse, the place police arrested two suspects. One remains to be at giant.
Together with medical face masks and cleansing merchandise, requirements comparable to rest room paper, rice, canned meals and different family staples have change into closely wanted in Hong Kong within the wake of the outbreak of coronavirus, formally named COVID-19.
Earlier this month, buyers emptied retailer cabinets of bathroom paper following on-line rumors that its provides may run out because of the virus outbreak forcing a slowdown of factories in mainland China.
There are 57 sufferers recognized with the coronavirus in Hong Kong. Town was hard-hit by the 2002-2003 outbreak of extreme acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which has left many residents anxious of a mass COVID-19 outbreak.
Though the federal government has refuted the rumors and main grocery store chains have clarified that there isn’t any scarcity of provide, the hysteria is but to die down. Across the metropolis, grocery store cabinets usually stocked with rest room paper and different family items lay naked as shops battle to restock. Instantaneous meals comparable to cup noodles and canned meals are additionally being purchased up within the panic.
Face masks have been in dire scarcity since final month, with folks forming traces exterior drugstores as early because the night time earlier than when outlets announce they are going to be promoting a restricted variety of masks the following morning. Town’s leaders have been closely criticized for not making certain a enough provide of masks, in contrast to neighboring governments which were handing out face masks to households.
Hong Kong shouldn’t be the one place to see indicators of panic shopping for as variety of coronavirus circumstances worldwide improve. After the Singapore authorities raised its well being alert stage earlier this month, many took to supermarkets, clearing cabinets of bathroom paper, noodles, rice and different requirements. Taiwan additionally noticed a rest room paper run after netizens circulated rumors on-line that manufacturing of bathroom paper was being curtailed as a result of paper pulp was getting used to make face masks as a substitute.