Armed robbers steal toilet paper as panic buying sweeps Hong Kong

Armed robbers intercepted a delivery of toilet paper destined for a Hong Kong supermarket on Monday, as panic buying linked to the coronavirus pandemic makes goods scarce across the city.

Police told dpa that three knife-wielding men held up the delivery truck, Stole away the toilet rolls worth around 1,700 Hong Kong dollars (220 dollars).

Two suspects were later arrested and the goods recovered, police added.

Panic buying across the city has left shops unable to keep up with demand, with face masks often out of stock and people hoarding items such as toilet roll, rice, canned food, dry goods and hand sanitiser.

Hong Kong is currently under partial lockdown as the government grapples with measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19, the disease caused by the contagious coronavirus.

Schools are shut until mid-March due and many employees are working from home, which also changes consumption patterns.

The coronavirus has infected over 70,500 people and claimed the lives of 1,770 people across mainland China, since the outbreak first started in Wuhan, a city of 11.08 million in Hubei province renowed for its high-speed rail links.

Hong Kong announced its 57th confirmed case late on Sunday and has one recorded fatality.

Meanwhile, thousands of medical professionals backed by unions have staged weekly protests since early February to voice disdain at the governments slow response to closing Hong Kong’s borders with the Chinese mainland.

On Sunday, 33 people were reportedly arrested for illegal assembly.(dpa/NAN)