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Drakes owner urges calm on toilet paper panic


A South Australian supermarket chain has called for calm as mass panic buying, caused by a sudden spike in COVID-19 cases, surges across the state.

In a cheeky video posted to Twitter on Tuesday, Drakes Supermarkets Director John-Paul Drake said people needed to “calm the farm” amid the sudden increase in bulk toilet paper purchases.

Coles has already imposed a two-packet limit for shoppers in a bid to ensure the items remain available to other shoppers.

https://twitter.com/G_Westgarth/status/1328547820115173376

In his address to “the state of Radelaide”, Mr Drake said there was no need to panic buy as they had enough toilet paper to go from “here, end on end, to (the) SpaceX rocket that got launched the other day”.

“There is so much toilet paper – you don’t need to be buying this in bulk,” Mr Drake said.

Adamant to prove stocks would not be running low, Woolworths store granted NCA NewsWire access to its South Australian distribution centre, revealing thousands of rolls ready to go.

A Woolworths spokesman said the company was sending triple the volume of toilet paper to stores as it did last Tuesday to ensure toilet paper is available for our customers.

“We experienced higher than usual demand for toilet paper across our South Australian stores yesterday,” they said.

“Customers are encouraged to buy only what they need, as we’ll continue to receive extra orders of stock in our stores regularly.

“We will continue to monitor the situation closely and reassess product limits if needed.”

Mr Drake urged shoppers to be kind to team members who were working to keep shelves stocked.

“Our team learned some lessons from the first wave (of coronavirus), so we’ve ensured that our Distribution Centre in Edinburgh North is appropriately stocked,” he said.

“Some shelves may be a bit low for now, but we can assure you that more stock is on its way.

“We’re already in talks with our supplier partners to ensure we can access more if required.”

In response to the panic buying, Coles has implemented a two packet limit on buying toilet paper.

A Coles spokesman said the purchase limits in SA were to ensure more customers had access to staple items.

“Effective from today, the limits apply at all Coles supermarkets and Coles Express stores in SA, as well as Coles Online orders for customers in SA,” they said.

“The limits do not currently apply to any other states or products, however we will continue to monitor stock levels and ask that customers purchase only what they need.”

Many people took to social media to show toilet paper, bread and gym equipment had flown off shelves at a number of supermarkets.

The retail workers union Secretary Josh Peak said it was caused by people being concerned of a shortage and the stress the pandemic has put on locals.

“The community is anxious and stressed out and unfortunately their lashing out at retail workers who are not only getting the panic buying but are also seeing an increase in customer abuse again,” he said on ABC Radio.

“We just need to remain claim. SA will get through this but we don’t need to put our retail workers through this additional stress for no reason.

“Our supply chain is very well stocked. We do not need to have rush on products. The only thing that causes a shortage is the rush itself so it’s really important that South Australians remain calm, do their usual shopping and make sure we have plenty on the shelves for all of us to share.”

The empty shelves come as SA’s Parafield cluster, which was announced on Sunday, grows to 23 known and suspected linked cases.

It was the first recorded community transmission since April.

The state now has a number of tougher restrictions put in place as a result, which came into effect as of midnight on Monday.





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Mobile phone held under toilet cubicle at shops


A startled Victorian woman has worryingly been interrupted during a bathroom break by a mobile phone being held under the wall of her cubicle.

Police said while in the cubicle the woman saw the phone being held under the cubicle divider with the camera activated.

Sergeant Madeline Gillard said the woman entered the female toilets at a Sale shopping centre about 12.30pm on October 20.

Sale sexual offence and child abuse investigation team detectives have released CCTV footage of a person, believed to be a man, who they believe can assist them with their investigation into the upskirting incident.

The person is described as caucasian, about 180cm tall, with short, straight dark hair and a solid build.

At the time they were wearing a light-coloured face mask, glasses, a dark overcoat, dark knee-high boots and carrying a bag.

Anyone with information has been urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

jack.paynter@news.com.au



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Melbourne Cup 2020 fashion embraces face masks and toilet roll fascinators


We all know 2020 has been a weird year, and the Melbourne Cup is no exception.

With no spectators allowed at Flemington on a glorious and sunny 30 degree Celsius day, Melbournians fresh out of months of lockdown have wasted no time getting creative to enjoy a COVID-safe Cup Day at home.

Racing enthusiast Angela Menz tried to capture the atmosphere of Flemington in her apartment in Melbourne’s east.

“I made my own Melbourne Cup this year and I’ve made a big banner to try and bring the colour and fun of Flemington into my house,” she said.

“I’ve got balloons and streamers and a massive spread of food.

One of the most popular parts of the Spring Racing Carnival is fashions on the field, which in 2020, was transformed into fashions on your front lawn.

Ali Rauf of Bird Skin won the emerging designer award, with her colour-blocked design sewn from a zero-waste pattern.

A woman wearing a tiara poses in a yellow and purple dress.
Ali Rauf’s design was created to “capture the magic of a day at the races with friends”, something that was sorely missing in 2020.(Facebook: Flemington Racecourse and Victoria Racing Club)

Others took a more timely approach to their racing attire, including Fi Davidson whose fascinator featured tissues, hand sanitiser and a toilet roll.

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Or Karen Feldman, who created a dress and matching purse out of face masks.

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Melbourne cup brunches and luncheons were also taking place at venues across Victoria, as socially-starved Melburnians enjoyed their new freedoms.

A group of 10 friends sit at a long table and raise their glasses.
Kaitlin Little (second from right) and nine friends celebrated Melbourne Cup Day with brunch by the Yarra River.(ABC News: Elias Clure)

Kaitlin Little and nine friends — the maximum number of people allowed on one booking in Victorian pubs — enjoyed mimosas and champagne at The Boatbuilders Yard on the Yarra River, at South Wharf. 

“To be inside and in lockdown for so long it’s just so good to be back outside again with friends and for Melbourne Cup too — it’s a bonus,” Ms Little said.

Williamstown Beach is crowded with people on a sunny day.
As the state records its fourth day of no new coronavirus cases, Melburnians have flocked to the beaches.(ABC News)

Others were just keen to get outside and enjoy the warm weather, but with a 25km travel limit still in place preventing Melburnians from heading further afield this weekend, the city’s beaches were packed.



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Humble toilet block gets a design makeover


The inside spaces were also disappointing, with Lahz referring to these as three-d’s, ‘dank, dark and dated’.

With a dramatic cliff face, spread over a series of natural and man-made platforms, the site enjoys unimpeded views over headlands.

A winding path also leads to the Mahon Pool (built in the 1930s), one of a number provided along the eastern beaches.

“Public amenities were once seen as a commission that was second rate.”

Architect Annabel Lahz

Taking the brief from Randwick City Council, the objective for lahznimmo architects was to create light and airy amenities and integrate these into the coastal landscape.

“Public amenities were once seen as a commission that was second rate.

The site enjoys unimpeded views over headlands.

The site enjoys unimpeded views over headlands.Credit:Brett Boardman

But you must have noticed how many leading architects now invest the time and energy into creating these buildings: just look at the number entered into the architectural awards,” says Lahz.

The 1960s buildings, one containing the amenities, the other being the club, have been replaced with one sculptural form that bridges the two uses.

Constructed with precast concrete panels, with an exposed rose coloured aggregate, a concrete roof covered in pebbles and anodised-fins bellow, the form is now nestled into its surrounds, framed by coastal scrub.

“We ‘cranked’ the form to the light (orientated to north-east) to increase the light and views over the headland,” says Lahz, who also chose the materials to magnify the effect against the light.

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“The form becomes more animated as the day progresses,” she adds.

Landscape architect Sue Barnsley was as mindful of this unique setting, including a concrete plinth at the base of these amenities that double in part as seating.

Unlike the former arrangement with a row of toilets and basins, here, there are separate toilets and change areas with a communal stainless-steel trough in the centre, the latter open to the elements (secured after hours).

This arrangement is not dissimilar to the public amenities in Centennial Park, also designed by lahznimmo in the early noughties.

“Andrew (Nimmo) and I felt that was a seminal moment in reworking these facilities, with many architects following this path,” says Lahz.

Although the Maroubra amenities are encased within a relatively narrow footprint, the architects were mindful of the landscape from the outset.

“The natural contours of the land really drove the form.

We were also keen to ensure that you didn’t have to encircle the entire building, as was often the case in the 1950s and ‘60s,” says Lahz, referring to the pathway that cuts a swathe through the amenities as people either head to the pool below or the car park above.

“Many of the paths had to be reworked for disability access, but some really led nowhere.”

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While materials such as stainless steel simply remind one of schoolyard troughs and basic public amenities, lahznimmo architects has elevated this basic form.

Here, the stainless steel sink has been beautifully wrapped in the precast concrete, creating an architectural form in the process that forms part of the exterior’s expression.

“We’re coming up to putting our names on eight public facilities.

It’s certainly something that we want to continue to design.

Even when we started, we certainly saw them as an important part of the architectural legacy. Let’s face it, they’re used by virtually everyone at some point,” adds Lahz.

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Marrickville residents beg ‘mystery poo-er’ to cease using their garage as a toilet


More than six months after the mystery of the Paddington poo-jogger gripped the state, another Sydney neighbourhood has been rocked by similar foul claims.

An alleged poo scandal in the city’s inner-west has come to light via a sternly worded note attached to a property in Marrickville, addressed to a “mystery human poo-er”, and posted on Reddit.

The note, found on Silver Lane in Marrickville, asked the culprit to cease using the writer’s garage as a toilet, outlining that the residents had installed a fence and camera to catch the them in the act should it continue.

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In a sign of solidarity amid the pandemic’s strict lockdown measures, the writer of the note sympathised that they “understand that COVID-19 is tough on everyone,” but politely asked them to stop.

“Dear Mystery Human Poo-er,” it began.

“We have installed this fence and a camera to hand over to the police.

“We understand that COVID-19 is tough on everyone but please stop s**ting on our garage.”

It went on to provide a graphic description of the waste.

“Also make sure you chew your food better and whatever it is that makes it sticky I’d get that checked.”

It ended by providing directions to a nearby public toilet.

“There is a toilet in the carpark opposite Banana Joes. Thank you for your co-operation,” it read.

Sydney local Rebecca Street, who found the note, spoke to Daily Mail Australia about her discovery.

“The funny thing was is that it only covered a corner of their drive as if the pooper had being doing it in that specific corner,” she said of the fence, which jutted out onto the road.

“There was a camera mounted to the outside of the house in a quite obvious way. I gave it a good wave.”

The Reddit post has received an influx of comments speculating that the young woman caught squatting outside Sydney PR maven Roxy Jacenko’s office last October has moved on to a new suburb.

Other comments on the post suggested it could be a taxi driver, a delivery rider or a homeless person in the area.

“I bet it’s a taxi driver. There was a phantom pooper like that in the lanes around Ashfield a few years back and they caught a taxi driver doing it,” one person said.

Another hilariously wondered whether there was a secret underground movement of phantom poo-ers in Sydney.

“I swear sometimes you’ll see toilet paper next to the poo and I also wanna know if they planned for it?” their conspiracy theory began.

“Is there a free-s***ting movement I don’t know about?”

Last year, a young woman in a bright pink jumper, who became known as Paddington poo jogger, rose to notoriety after Roxy Jacenko posted several videos to her 253,000 Instagram followers in a public call-out to name and shame.

People who know the woman later revealed she deleted all her social media accounts due to the saga, at risk of being further publicly shamed, and as of December, police were still yet to track her down.

Mirroring the latest instance of public defecation in Marrickville, many were curious as to why Jacenko’s poo-vandal didn’t have time to go to the nearby cafe to go to the toilet.

Jacenko, who was widely criticised for her public approach to getting to the bottom of the issue, has said she is no longer interested in hunting down the woman, but police told news.com.au the Surry Hills Police Area Command had conducted an investigation into the matter.

“At this stage, no person of interest has been identified,” they said.

“Additionally we are not aware of any further incidents occurring since the matter was reported.”

They advised against people reporting crimes on social media, as Jacenko did, but rather encouraged them to visit their local police station to report incidents.



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Women in toilet paper brawl have case in Sydney court


A mother-daughter duo at the centre of an allegedly violent coronavirus-fuelled stoush over toilet paper at a Sydney supermarket has had the case adjourned for two weeks.

Treiza Bebawy, 60, and Meriam Bebawy, 23, were due to face Bankstown Local Court on Tuesday on affray charges following an altercation at a Woolworths store in Chullora on March 7.

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But the women didn’t attend court for their first mention, with the magistrate granting their lawyer’s request for a two-week postponement.

They are now scheduled to face court on May 12.

Footage of the incident went viral on social media last month.

It showed the Bebawys allegedly yelling and fighting with fellow shopper Tracey Hinckson, 49, amid panic buying.

RELATED: How are you coping during the pandemic? Take our survey

The video depicted Ms Hinckson being attacked while a packet of Quilton toilet paper lay on the floor.

Police allege the mother and daughter used “unlawful violence” causing their fellow shopper to “fear for her safety”.

Ms Hinckson was not injured in the fracas.

In the video, Meriam Bebawy is seen returning the toilet paper to a trolley loaded with loo roll.

Ms Hinckson can be heard yelling: “I just want one packet.”

Treiza Bebawy, who’s guarding the trolley, then replies: “No. No toilet paper.”



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Supermarket boss’s blunt reply to toilet paper hoarder wanting refund


A supermarket boss has given one of his customers the bird after it’s claimed a man tried to return almost 5000 rolls of toilet paper and 150 bottles of hand sanitiser which he couldn’t sell online.

John-Paul Drake, an executive with South Australian supermarket chain Drakes, said he refused to given the man a refund.

In a video uploaded to YouTube, Mr Drake said recent panic buying of toilet paper had been “absolutely ridiculous” with the company selling eight months’ worth in four days at one point.

But one customer’s behaviour was worse than the others.

“I had my first customer yesterday who said he wanted to get a refund on 150 packets of 32-pack toilet paper and 150 units of one-litre sanitiser.” In 150 packs of 32-roll toilet paper there would be 4800 individual rolls.

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Mr Drake said the man had come into the store to get his money back after website eBay refused to allow him to sell the items online.

In the video, Mr Drake then showed his middle finger and said that was his reply to the customer’s request.

“I told him that, that is the sort of person who is causing the problem in the whole country.”

In a later LinkedIn post, Mr Drake said the customer hadn’t bought the loo roll and hand sanitiser in one trip, but claimed that he had run a sophisticated operation that saw up to 20 people visit several Drakes stores buying a pack in each one.

Panic buying and hoarding overwhelmed supermarkets from early March as people began stocking up on staples like toilet roil, pasta and rice.

Some customers were filmed brawling in the aisles to try to get their hands-on scarce supplies, while others we reselling the same items for astronomical prices online.

While retailers have managed to get much of the supply back on shelves, some buying limits remain in place and the presence of toilet paper on shelves is still erratic.

Coles, Woolworths and other stores changed their policy on refunds last month, not allowing customers to get their money back on change-of-mind purchases in an effort to reduce demand for popular products.

Last week, Woolworths chief executive officer Brad Banducci said the store still expected to sell up to 16 million toilet rolls in a seven-day period – double the average. But demand was tapering off, he said, with supply up by 70 per cent.

“But like every week so far, I’d still ask you to only buy what you need.”

Paper towels and tissues were still in short supply, said Mr Banducci, as was pasta sauce.

However, there was more pasta on shelves and the company has shipped in 700,000 units of hand sanitiser, as much as the firm would usually sell in 40 weeks.



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Man arrested as part of investigation into toilet paper theft


Police have arrested a man accused of stealing toilet paper from supermarkets in Sydney’s south west.

The 30-year-old was caught by investigators during a vehicle stop in Lidcombe Friday after, after “extensive inquiries” including an appeal to the community for information.

Police were seeking two men who they said attended supermarkets in Granville, Auburn, Bass Hill and Lidcombe, and accessed restricted storage areas last Sunday.

The pair targeted toilet paper and allegedly stole multiple packs from the Granville and Auburn stores but left empty-handed from the stores in Bass Hill and Lidcombe.

It was also reported that one of the men threatened an employee with a knife at the Auburn store.

The arrested man has been taken to Auburn Police Station for questioning an police are continuing their investigation.

Earlier, NSW Police and Emergency Services Minister David Elliott blasted the behaviour and urged anyone with information to come forward.

“I support any measures taken by police to protect our communities from this sort of disgraceful criminal activity,” he said in a statement.

“The people of NSW will not tolerate criminal behaviour at any time let alone during this crisis.

“People need to grow up and look out for our most vulnerable.”

Meanwhile, a Sydney convenience store has found a novel way of stopping “greedy” toilet paper hoarders.

Rather than resorting to strictly limiting how many packs customers can buy during the COVID-19 pandemic – a tactic used by Woolworths, Coles and Aldi – the Redfern Convenience Store has adopted a different approach.

The inner Sydney store is still allowing patrons to purchase a two-pack for $3.50 but a second pack brings the total price to a whopping $99.

“Don’t be greedy,” a sign posted in front of the coveted stock reads.

“Think of the other people.”

Owner Hazem Sedda toldAAPthe quirky policy had worked wonders after some customers ignored their initial plea to be more considerate.

Only one customer has tried to come to the counter with two packs since he put up the sign.

“It is working so good and lots of people are happy about it,” he said.

In a sign of the times, Mr Sedda shipped three packages of toilet paper to a Port Macquarie lady and her neighbour on Monday after they contacted him on social media.

The good Samaritan even refused to take payment for his trouble.

“There is a lot of people who are desperate,” Mr Sedda said.

“It’s not about making a sale or a profit at this time. We just want to help the people.”



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Coronavirus: Two charged over Woolworths toilet roll fight


Two Sydney women have been charged with affray following a fight in supermarket over toilet roll.

Video of the incident, filmed yesterday in a Woolworths store in Chullora in Sydney’s south west, was watched by hundreds of thousands of people after it was posted online.

Staff were forced to intervene to break up the brawl.

On Sunday morning, New South Wales Police said they had charged two women following the altercation.

A 49-year-old women was allegedly assaulted in the incident. Police said she was uninjured.

“At about 8pm (on Saturday), two women attended Bankstown Police Station and spoke with investigators,” Police said in a statement.

Two Bankstown women, aged 23 and 60, were issued court attendance notices for affray.

Both are due to appear at Bankstown Local Court on Tuesday 28 April 2020.

The incident was one of a number reported at Australian supermarkets as the desperation for toilet paper, which is not in short supply but is being purchased in far higher quantities, reached absurd levels.

The Chullora video showed one woman punching another at least once as a nearby crowd screams in astonishment. The fight occurred at 7am yesterday.

Clutching grocery bags alongside a trolley loaded with toilet paper, the two women scream wildly as they throw punches and pull each other’s hair.

“I just want one pack,” one screams, aggressively shaking and pointing her finger.

“No, not one pack,” another replies as she begs with the woman to leave her daughter alone.

Another, who attempts to calm the scuffle down, calmly says to one of the women, “think about what you’re doing”.

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Crowds nearby can be heard telling the manager to call the police, while another asks what the recently enforced limit for purchasing toilet paper had become.

During the week, the major supermarkets were forced to ration the sales of loo paper to keep the nation from running out as panic buying set in.

But these efforts have been unsuccessful at fanning the anxiety of shoppers, culminating in the fight.

Bankstown Police Area Command Duty Officer, Acting Inspector Andrew New, said that supplies of toilet paper are constantly being replenished and there’s no need to panic.

“Violence will not be tolerated and anyone involved in this behaviour may be committing an offence and find themselves in court,” he said.

Commenting on the video shared online, a woman claiming to be an employee at the supermarket condemned the fight.

“I know both customers as I work there,” Jenan Ghama Cheaib wrote.

“It’s ridiculous to think this is what we have come to.”

Supermarkets have struggled to control crowds all week as hysteria has swept the nation.

A Woolworths spokesman confirmed to news.com.au the fight was filmed in the Sydney suburb Chullora.

“We will not tolerate violence of any kind from our customers in our stores and we are working with Police who are investigating the matter,” the company said.

A makeshift sign spotted at a Woolworths in Bendigo declares a “zero tolerance” towards violence.

“Aggressive and abusive be behaviour will not be tolerated,” the paper reads. “Our team is here to help, not be hurt.”

Meanwhile, a news.com.au reader has spotted a man in another western Sydney suburb, Prestons, selling toilet paper on the side of the road.

The entrepreneur had a trailer loaded with the household item, selling one roll for $2, three rolls for $5 or a box for $70.

Canned foods, bleach and other household essentials have been snatched up but it’s the empty shelves of toilet rolls that have captured the imagination of social media.

“There’s quite a few things going on here and it is therefore a fairly complex issue,” clinical psychologist Dr Ros Knight told news.com.au.

“For whatever reason, and there could be a few contributing factors, people are getting quite anxious about COVID-19.”

Dr Knight, who is also president of the Australian Psychological Society, said the bizarre reaction is likely the result of concerned consumers trying to take ownership of a seemingly helpless endemic.

And she implored Australians to express their anxiety in a healthy way and instead focus on understanding the real dangers of the virus rather than the unnecessary hysteria.

“If you’re hearing about a virus that’s going to cause a pandemic and it’s killing people all over the world, if you’re hearing the hype rather than the facts then you go ‘what am I going to do to protect myself? I might end up stuck at home for a while so I’ll make sure I stock up,” she said.

“In reality, of course, it’s not necessary or at least definitely not at this point. It’s not an appropriate response to the level of threat we’re currently under.”



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‘The toilet roll situation is making me more anxious than coronavirus itself’


I don’t know about you, but there’s one thing that’s making me more anxious than coronavirus itself and that’s toilet roll or lack thereof.

For the past few days I’ve looked at the supermarket bare shelves, watched people shove and push one another to get that last packet of Kleenex with a certain rising despair and I’m beginning to feel incredibly uneasy, as in zombie apocalypse uneasy.

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What once was a simple accessible product has now become more rare than and more sought after than a precious gem thanks to Covid-19.

Not only is every supermarket shelf empty of toilet rolls, but type it in Google search and you’ll see thousands of entries selling single rolls for $1,000.

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‘Is this the answer?’

Yes, you read it correctly. One thousand fricken dollars for single roll of toilet paper.

Honestly people, is this the nation’s answer to a virus pandemic?

Buy up every toilet roll you can see and on sell it for a bigger margin so you can make a quick buck?

What happened to neighbourly love?

If we do truly have to remain in lockdown because of a pandemic, my fear is that not only will people stockpile like there’s no tomorrow, and push and shove everyone in the process but we’ll also try to make money off people who couldn’t or didn’t.

Right now, my fear is not catching the dreaded coronavirus, it’s how people are reacting to it.

Everyone is panicking and with their panic acting irrationally and quite frankly un-Australian.

‘Get some perspective’

When we went through the bushfires crisis, everyone came together and worked through the problem together.

At the moment we are literally fighting each other over the last roll of toilet paper, the elderly are getting shoved to one side and are wondering around confused and somewhat befuddled at the supermarkets.

To put the coronavirus issue in perspective, according to Peter Collingnon, an infectious diseases doctor in Canberra, the virus “is less infectious than expected.”

“It appears that about two per cent of people that have had close contact [with an infected individual] may acquire the virus,” he told the ABC.

To date at 09:00 hrs on 5 March 2020, we have 52 confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19), including 2 deaths in Australia.

Not to suggest we ignore the rising problem of the virus, I just hope that we start to think with our heads, not our asses.

And scavenging toilet roll is not the answer.

This article was originally published on kidspot.com.au and is republished with permission



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