Australia's location near Asia means we probably started to feel the side effects of Covid19 sweeping China a little earlier than some of the other English speaking countries. Others were laughing at Australia and the toilet paper panic buying, but now it's spread to them too. It seems these things are e even more contagious than the coronavirus! It toilet paper buy up started here because Chinese residents were buying it and sending it back to family in China, if you can believe it. I'm still not sure why toilet paper, but there must be a reason why they were running out over there.
Anyway, panic buying has been going on for a while now, but it's only really hit the poorer suburbs more recently. Our family have always been ones to keep extra in of none perishables. Yes we are preppers to a point, but I also don't like shopping, so buying in bulk means buying less often. I make good use of my freezer too. So for me, recent shopping trips have been less panic and more of a chance to observe. Yesterday I went to get body wash, because my husband was out and I kept forgetting replacements, because it's not something I use myself. While deciding which ones to get I realised that the shelves next to the shower gels and body wash were almost empty and was curious as to what was so sought after. It was the hand soaps and a sign proclaimed that customers were restricted to 2 purchases each.
I had to wonder where our ability to think outside the box has gone as customers lamented over the fact they were out and went back to select my body wash, which would accomplish the same thing as hand wash, despite the fact that it didn't have the word hand on it. There were also no restrictions on purchases for them, but there might be if people actually cotton on.
A positive sign is that there were sections in the veg area of the freezers which had been cleaned out! I thought it would be the ready meals, but maybe we aren't a nation of junk food addicts after all!
This week the federal government ordered a ban on all gatherings with over 500 people. Sporting events are being cancelled or they're going ahead without audiences. My daughter does gymnastics and the national championships have been cancelled, leading to the cancellation of local state competitions where gymnasts would normally be trialling to represent their state. It seems to be having a cascading effect as now training has been cancelled too. Schools aren't closed as of yet, but many are starting the school break early.
The individual states have been making their own restrictions, depending on the threat level. South Australia currently has 32 confirmed cases, which were people coming in on international and domestic flights, then one who had contact with one of those people. So anyone flying into South Australia had to self isolate for two weeks as of Monday. Now we're hearing the borders might be closing completely and flights are being cancelled all over the place.
Those working in retail are having to disinfect with hand sanitiser after every customer. For many workers that’s a lot of sanitising and a friend showed us her red, raw hands, with the skin splitting.
The atmosphere is certainly dividing people. Fear is bringing out aggression in people you wouldn't expect it from and often it's from misinformation. Some seem to think that the virus is deadly to everyone, despite assurances that 80% of cases are mild.
Traffic has been heavy throughout the day as people travel further and further afield to find shops with groceries. In the poorer suburbs the shops were still stocked when elsewhere had been stripped. Likely because the poor can't afford to buy extra. Now their shelves are also emptying and it's not down to the locals. I'm sure soon the streets will be quieter than ever as everyone hides in their houses.
I believe some restaurants have been feeling the pinch since the beginning of the year, at least the Asian ones have. At the beginning of February we went to a favourite of ours, Red Chilli, for my husband's birthday. I booked a table, because Saturdays are usually really busy. When we arrived there was just one other table occupied. I thought that my husband was jesting when he said it was fear of coronavirus because the restaurant was Asian, but apparently it was no joke.