Germans start 'hamstering' toilet paper again as COVID-19 cases surge

FILE PHOTO: People wait in a queue to enter a supermarket in Schulzendorf near Berlin, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Germany, March 25, 2020. REUTERS/Reinhard Krause

BERLIN (Reuters) - Sales of toilet paper and disinfectants are on the rise again in Germany, the country’s statistics office said on Thursday, as Europe’s largest economy struggles with a second coronavirus wave.

“Hamster purchases are starting again,” the office said on Twitter, using a German phrase for panic-buying or hoarding.

Sales of toilet paper surged by 89.9% last week when compared to pre-crisis levels, while disinfectants (up 72.5%) and soap (up 62.3%) were also in high demand, it said in a separate statement.

Germany has had more success in containing the pandemic than other large European countries such as Britain and France, but case numbers have increased steadily over the past weeks.

On Thursday Germany for the first time reported more than 10,000 new daily COVID-19 infections.

Data released in April showed that stocking up on daily essentials ahead of anticipated lockdown and quarantine measures caused German retail sales to surge far beyond expectations in February.

Reporting by Thomas Seythal