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Scott Morrison’s message to Australians who are panic buying as coronavirus fears escalate

Shelves at supermarkets across the country have been cleared of toilet paper, pet food and canned goods as Australians who are fearful of the COVID-19 coronavirus rush to stockpile essentials.

But Prime Minister Scott Morrison has urged Australians not to panic about the prospect of a major coronavirus outbreak in Australia.

3AW’s Tom Elliott asked the Prime Minister what his message to people who are panic buying is.

“I’d say call 1800 020 080. I think it’s important to get the right facts and information about this,” Mr Morrison said.

The Prime Minister said he’s spoken to management at both Coles at Woolworths, who are “quite positive” about their abilities to ensure supply of goods will not be significantly interrupted.

“In the short term they’ll be seeking to restock those shelves. They’ve got supplies in Australia and they’ll be sourcing others. I was happy with the arrangements they have in place,” he said.

“I was pleased with the very open way they dealt with us and their dealing with the issue on the ground.”

There have been 34 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Australia and 21 of those infected have already recovered from the virus.

Two cases of human to human transmission of the disease within the community were confirmed today, and the Prime Minister said he “suspects that number will rise”, but urged Australians not to panic.

“All the advice we have is people can just get about their daily business,” he said.

“We’re certainly very well prepared.

“We’re working to stay ahead of it, and that includes the economic response as well.

“The Reserve Bank of Australia today has cut rates by 25 basis points. That is in direct response to addressing the coronavirus.”

If you want more information about the COVID-19 coronavirus, contact the national incident response centre on 1800 020 080.

Press PLAY below for the full interview.

Coronavirus fears: Supermarket shelves left bare as shoppers rush to stock up on essentials

Image: Don Arnold / Stringer