Covid Australia: Panic buying hits Brisbane, Queensland, ahead of three-day snap lockdown

Supermarkets in Brisbane have been inundated with shoppers desperate to stock up on supplies as panic buying ramps up again ahead of the three-day snap lockdown.

The city will be plunged into the strict lockdown at 5pm on Monday after four new local Covid cases were found amid an outbreak of the highly-contagious UK variant.

Just 45 minutes after the announcement, reports emerged of locals brawling in supermarket aisles over toilet roll – with a pregnant woman in Arana Hills knocked out by a trolley-wielding shopper hunting for flour.

More than two million residents living in Greater Brisbane will be allowed outside only for essential reasons – for work, for exercise, to buy essential supplies or for care.

Despite being allowed to go the supermarket for groceries and supplies, many locals wasted no time in heading to their local grocery stores with alarming photos showing queues of shoppers spilling out the doors.

A woman is seen leaving a Brisbane shopping centre in Newstead in Brisbane on Monday as the city prepares to enter into a three-day lockdown

A woman is seen leaving a Brisbane shopping centre in Newstead in Brisbane on Monday as the city prepares to enter into a three-day lockdown

A young family stopped by a Woolworths in Newstead, Brisbane on Monday before the city goes into lockdown at 5pm

A young family stopped by a Woolworths in Newstead, Brisbane on Monday before the city goes into lockdown at 5pm

Shoppers line up outside a Woolworths at the Montague Markets in West End on Monday

Shoppers line up outside a Woolworths at the Montague Markets in West End on Monday

Shoppers are seen at a Woolworths in Newstead on Monday after four cases of coronavirus were recorded

Drivers queued up to be tested in Bowen Hills on Monday (pictured) as the lockdown was announced

Shoppers are seen at a Woolworths in Newstead on Monday after four cases of coronavirus were recorded (pictured, left) while cars queued to be tested in Bowen Hills (right)

At a Coles supermarket in New Farm, in Brisbane’s inner city, masked shoppers were seen lined up outside the doors while a staff member tried to organise the mass of customers coming and going.

Similar scenes were captured at a Woolworths in the nearby suburb of Newstead.

Customers socially distanced while waiting in the queue that had spilled out into the rest of the shopping centre.

Another line of shoppers were seen eagerly waiting outside a Woolworths store at the Montague Markets in West End.

Shoppers spilled into the Woolworths store in Newstead on Monday (pictured) hours ahead of the Greater Brisbane lockdown

Shoppers spilled into the Woolworths store in Newstead on Monday (pictured) hours ahead of the Greater Brisbane lockdown

Customers socially distanced while waiting in the the queue that had spilled out into the rest of the shopping centre (pictured Newstead in Brisbane)

Customers socially distanced while waiting in the the queue that had spilled out into the rest of the shopping centre (pictured Newstead in Brisbane)

At a Coles supermarket in New Farm, in Brisbane's inner city, masked shoppers were seen lined up outside the doors while a staff member tried to organise the mass of customers coming and going

At a Coles supermarket in New Farm, in Brisbane’s inner city, masked shoppers were seen lined up outside the doors while a staff member tried to organise the mass of customers coming and going

Most shoppers were seen carrying toilet paper with fears the scenes on Monday will escalate to how they were at the start of the year when Brisbane was thrown into another three-day lockdown.

Cafes, pubs and restaurants will be closed in Greater Brisbane, which includes Brisbane, Logan, Moreton Bay, Ipswich and Redlands – and schools will also be forced to shut.

Huge queues were also seen at testing clinics across Greater Brisbane, after dozens of venues were put on alert.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk had earlier called on residents not to overreact and start panic buying.

‘The supermarkets, the shops are full of supplies and you will still be able to go out and get food as part of this lockdown,’ she said.

‘So please don’t go out and panic buy today. The shops will operate – the food shops will operate as per usual.’

As news of the lockdown surfaced, residents raced to the shops to stock up on supplies (pictured Coles in New Farm, Brisbane)

As news of the lockdown surfaced, residents raced to the shops to stock up on supplies (pictured Coles in New Farm, Brisbane)

A man is seen leaving a Coles supermarket in New Farm on Monday with a case of coco cola

A man is seen leaving a Coles supermarket in New Farm on Monday with a case of coco cola

Three of the new cases found in the Sunshine State are close contacts of existing or historical cases but those infected may have been out in the community – raising the risk more transmission may have occurred.

Ms Palaszczuk said she was declaring the whole of Greater Brisbane a hotspot from 5pm and called on other states and territories to do so too.

Two of the cases visited the popular tourist town of Byron Bay in northern NSW while infectious, sparking fears the virus has spread interstate.

While the city’s in lockdown, only two visitors will be allowed in the home under the new rules and restaurants and cafes will be restricted to takeaway service only.

The UK strain of coronavirus – known as B117 – is believed to be at least 50 per cent more transmissable than other variants.

BRISBANE’S THREE-DAY LOCKDOWN: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE NEW RULES

Greater Brisbane’s three-day lockdown will begin at 5pm on Monday March 29 after a new cluster of Covid cases grew to seven

This includes Brisbane, Logan, Moreton Bay, Ipswich and Redlands

– Schools, restaurants, pubs and cafes will be closed – but can open for takeaway

– People can only leave their homes for four essential reasons: essential work, essential shopping, medical and exercise

– Masks will be mandatory everywhere inside in Greater Brisbane

– Pubs, cafes and restaurants outside of Greater Brisbane will have to ensure all customers sit down

– In the rest of Queensland, there is a 30-person limit on household gatherings

While the city's in lockdown, only two visitors will be allowed in the home under the new rules and restaurants and cafes will be restricted to takeaway service only (shopper in Newstead, Brisbane)

While the city’s in lockdown, only two visitors will be allowed in the home under the new rules and restaurants and cafes will be restricted to takeaway service only (shopper in Newstead, Brisbane)

A man carrying groceries leaves a supermarket in Brisbane amid fears panic buying has ramped up again

A man carrying groceries leaves a supermarket in Brisbane amid fears panic buying has ramped up again

Eager shoppers wait outside the Coles in New Farm on Monday

Eager shoppers wait outside the Coles in New Farm on Monday

Brisbane residents have been urged not to panic buy ahead of the three-day snap lockdown

Brisbane residents have been urged not to panic buy ahead of the three-day snap lockdown

‘There is now more community transmission, and these people have been out and about in the community, and that is of concern to Queensland Health,’ Ms Palaszczuk said.

‘This will also enable our health authorities to get on top of the contact tracing,’ she said.

‘I know this will mean some disruption to people’s lives, but we’ve done this before, and we’ve got through it over those three days in the past, and if everyone does the right thing I’m sure that we will be able to get through it again.’

QUEENSLAND VENUES ON ALERT

Anyone who has been to the following venues in the specified time frames must get tested regardless of whether they have symptoms and isolate immediately until they receive a negative result:

March 20, 12 noon to 2.16pm: every part of Westfield Carindale Shopping Centre at the alert time is now HIGH RISK

March 20, 12 noon to 2.16pm: Westfield Carindale. Shops include: Shinobi Ramen Noodle Shop, Fresh Sensations, Go Vita, Robins kitchen, Harris Scarfe and Kmart

March 20, 2.45pm to 3.45pm: Market Organics (store only), Newmarket

March 20, 8pm: Baskin and Robbins, Everton Park

March 21, 10.30am to 10.46am: Genki Market, Alderley

March 21, 12.40pm to 3.10pm: Mamma’s Italian Restaurant, Redcliffe – HIGH RISK

March 22, 12.20 to 12.25pm: Guzman and Gomez, Stafford

March 22, 12.40 to 12.50pm: Bunnings, Stafford

March 25, 8.30am to 8.45am: Aldi, Stafford

March 25, 11.15am to 11.40am: Nundah Respiratory Clinic, Nundah

Low risk venues:

March 21, 9.50am to 10.20am: Gasworks Plaza, Newstead

March 22, 7.55pm to 8pm: KFC drive-thru, Everton Park

An Aldi supermarket in Stafford, north Brisbane visited by the city's positive Covid-19 case

An Aldi supermarket in Stafford, north Brisbane visited by the city’s positive Covid-19 case

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