Young girl injured in Coles stampede
A 13-year-old girl has been left injured and crying on the ground after panic buyers stormed a Coles to buy toilet paper.
The girl's mother, who is currently wheelchair-bound due to a recent operation, said she went to the Coles in Baldivis, Perth, today to buy toilet paper and snacks with her daughter and nine-year-old son.
She told The West Australian that, when the doors opened, she was quickly separated from her daughter in the mad rush.
Moments later, she found her daughter crying on the floor.
"She was pushed to the ground and then stood on by adults who had no care in the world for a child on the floor. People were walking over her while she was crying on the ground just to get what they wanted," she told the newspaper.
She said shoppers knocked the young teenager to the ground as they charged towards the toilet paper at the store's entrance.
The mother took her to get x-rays on a swollen knee and was waiting on results.
"I am shocked at how people were acting this morning even before the doors opened. People pushing, people telling people to get back in line," she said.
Despite being left shaken, she praised the compassionate response from Coles staff who took the young girl to safety and put ice on her knee.
"Once (the manager) had been told what had happened he took myself and my children straight out the back and got ice to put on my daughter's knee," she said.
A Coles spokesman said they would be looking into extra security measures in the wake of recent panic buying.
"Coles takes the wellbeing of our customers and team members seriously and we are constantly reviewing security measures to manage the unprecedented levels of demand we are seeing in our stores," he said.
"We ask that customers to continue to show compassion towards fellow customers and team members at this challenging time."
The chaotic scenes comes after days of tension among shoppers sometimes fighting over limited stock on shelves including toilet paper, soap and other essentials due to panic buying.
Yesterday on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula, a Woolworths staff member was allegedly stabbed by a customer in the car park of the Rosebud supermarket. Police have arrested a 25-year-old man in relation to the incident.
Elsewhere, an angry shopper accused of striking a Coles employee with a stick in Melbourne has been charged.
The 43-year-old man was held down in a citizen's arrest by a group of customers at the Brunswick supermarket about 8.30pm on Sunday.
Behaviour like this has led to Coles, Woolworths, IGA and Aldi experiencing major shortages, with all four supermarket chains implementing strict buying restrictions on groceries.
This morning Scott Morrison told Australians to stop panic-buying while updating the country on the government's strategy to avoid the spread of the COVID-19.
"On bulk purchasing of supplies. Stop hoarding. I can't be more blunt about it. Stop it," he said. "It is not sensible, it is not helpful and it has been one of the most disappointing things I have seen in Australian behaviour in response to this crisis.
"That is not who we are as a people. It is not necessary. It is not something that people should be doing.
"There is no reason for people to be hoarding supplies in fear of a lock down or anything like this."