Panic buying has broken out across greater Brisbane as 2.5 million residents prepare to head into a three-day-long lockdown to curb the spread of a UK strain of Covid-19.
Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced Brisbane, Logan, Ipswich, Moreton, and Redland residents will only be allowed to leave their homes for four reasons from 6pm on Friday to 6pm on Monday.
That includes essential shopping, work, healthcare or exercise around the neighbourhood. They will also need to wear face masks when leaving their homes.
The draconian lockdown comes after a Brisbane hotel quarantine cleaner tested positive on Thursday for a UK strain of Covid-19, which authorities say is 70 per cent more infectious.
The news of a lockdown has led residents in the region to storm the local supermarkets and stock up on groceries.
Long queues of shoppers with trolleys packed with groceries were photographed at a Coles at New Farm.
Shelves were stripped bare in the fresh produce section of a Woolworths store with toilet paper supplies dwindling in some supermarkets.
Car parks were filled to capacity while lines of shoppers formed outside of supermarkets and snaked around shopping centres.
Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced Brisbane, Logan, Ipswich, Moreton, and Redland residents will only be allowed to leave their homes for four reasons from 6pm on Friday
Panic buying has broken out across greater Brisbane as 2.5 million residents prepare to head into a three-day-long lockdown to curb the spread of a UK strain of Covid-19 (pictured, shoppers at a Coles in New Farm)
A Coles at New Farm was packed with shoppers following the announcement of hard lockdown in Brisbane from 6pm Friday
A shopper leaves the Coles at New Farm in Brisbane as crowds rushed to the supermarket ahead of the looming lockdown
Ms Palaszczuk has urged residents to think of the three-day-long lockdown as a ‘long weekend’.
‘We need to do this. I’ve accepted the strong advice from Dr Young,’ Ms Palaszczuk said.
The UK mutation of Covid-19 has health authorities worried that if they don’t act quickly, it may spread quickly in the community.
‘Please, everybody, let’s be in this together, let’s stay at home, look at it as a long weekend at home with your family and friends,’ Ms Palaszczuk said.
‘It will be tough on everyone for these three days. I think everybody in Queensland, especially the Greater Brisbane area, knows what we are seeing in the UK and other places around the world is high rates of infection from this particular strain.
‘We do not want to see that happening here in our great state and that is why we are taking those strong actions today.
Residents will also not be allowed to have more than two visitors are their home while restaurants will only be open for takeaway.
Prime minister Scott Morrison tweeted his support following the announcement of the lockdown.
‘Wise call by Queslsand Premier AnnastaciaMP to have a brief lockdown to enable Queensland health authorities to get on top of the UK strain case in Brisbane,’ it read.
Long queues have formed outside of shops and supermarkets as shoppers rush to buy groceries ahead of lockdown in Brisbane
A shopper visits the Coles at New Farm ahead of the hard lockdown in Brisbane from 6pm Friday
Shoppers headed straight to a Coles at New Farm after it was announced Brisbane would be placed into a hard lockdown
Shoppers queue outside a Woolworths at Camp Hill ahead of hard lockdown in Brisbane
‘A big thanks in advance to everyone in greater Brisbane for their patience in coming days.’
Queensland reported no new locally transmitted cases and nine new cases in hotel quarantine on Friday.
Aged care homes across greater Brisbane were also sent into lockdown with visitors barred from visiting facilities in the Metro North, Metro South and West Morton heath regions.
Hospitals, prisons and disability accommodation in the same areas are also banned from accepting visitors.
The mutated strain plaguing the UK is believed to be up to 70 per cent more infectious than the original.
It is causing a sharp rise in cases in England and prompted British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to order a national lockdown until at least mid-February.
Britain reported more than 60,000 new confirmed cases in 24 hours for the second day in a row on Wednesday.
Prime minister Scott Morrison tweeted his support following the announcement of the lockdown
Empty shelves at Aldi in Manly on Brisbane’s bayside after shoppers go beserk
A terrifying map shows the Brisbane locations which have been exposed to the UK’s mutant variant of the virus since January 2, including a busy train line, a Coles and a Woolworths
Greater Brisbane residents will be required to wear a face mask when leaving their homes over the next three days
Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced on Friday residents will also have to wear face masks as part of the new measures
What the lockdown means for you
Residents living in greater Brisbane will only be allowed to leave their homes for four reasons from 6pm on Friday.
1) Essential work
2) Healthcare or compassionate care
3) Essential shopping
4) Exercise in the local neighbourhood
Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has urged residents to avoid non-essential activities like going to the cinema.
Households will not be allowed to have more than two visitors per day.
Restaurants and cafes will only be allowed to open for takeaway.
Funerals and weddings will also be limited to 20 people.
Masks will also be made mandatory, though children under the age of 12 will be exempt.
The lockdown will be lifted at 6pm on Monday.
Queensland’s chief health officer Dr Jeanette Young said health authorities were acting fast to trace down anyone who had come into contact with the cleaner.
‘We need to find every single case now,’ Dr Young said.
‘We need to find every person who might have had contact with that lady now, find them find them, and get them into quarantine. That’s what we’ve got to do over the next three days.’
The hotel cleaner’s infection ends almost four months of zero locally acquired cases in Queensland.
The positive case, a woman in her 20s, was infectious from January 2 before testing positive after showing symptoms on Wednesday.
Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus is urged to get tested immediately.
Residents will only be allowed to leave their homes for four reasons: essential shopping, exercise in the local neighbourhood, healthcare reasons or for work
The news comes after the state reported on Thursday a Brisbane quarantine hotel cleaner been diagnosed with the UK variant, sending aged care homes across greater Brisbane into lockdowns (pictured, a testing centre in Murrarrie, Brisbane)
The infected cleaner, a woman in her 20s who lives in Algester, had been working at the Hotel Grand Chancellor at Spring Hill (pictured), with her most recent shift on January 2
Contact tracers are tracking the movements of the cleaner, who worked at the hotel Grand Chancellor on January 2.
‘This woman has been exceptionally helpful with us, telling us exactly where she’s been, so we’re following up,’ Dr Young said.
The woman from Algester travelled on the public rail network to and from Brisbane’s inner city and southside.
Health authorities say she visited several locations while potentially infectious.
The woman travelled on a train from Altandi station to Roma Street station at 7am on January 2, then returned on the 4pm service the same day.
She also visited Woolworths at the Calamvale Central Shopping Centre from 11am to 12pm on Sunday 3 January.
The cleaner visited the Calamvale North Woolworths (pictured) between 11am and noon on January 3 while infected
The UK variant of Covid entered Queensland via a returned traveller at Brisbane Airport and has been identified in quarantine throughout the nation. This is the first time it has leaked from hotel quarantine
She was also at Coles in Sunnybank Hills for 30 minutes from 7.30am on Tuesday 5 January.
She was also a newsagent at Sunnybank Hills Shopping Town from 8am to 8.15am on the same day.
‘The good thing is this lady hasn’t been to any restaurants or cafes and when we know they are such a critical ear for spread, so that’s really good news,’ Dr Young said.
Dr Young reminded residents it was important to get ontop of the virus early before it potentially spread.
‘I’m really concerned that if we were to have cases from this very, very contagious, infectious virus, we wouldn’t be able to get on top of it,’ Dr Young said.
‘That’s why we have to bring this in fast, rather than be able to wait and see what the extent of the spread is, because once it is spread, it will be too late to act.’
The hard lockdown in Greater Brisbane will last from 6pm Friday to 6pm Monday
Ms Palaszczuk has also announced travellers coming from Greater Sydney will not be allowed into Queensland until at least the end of January (pictured, patrol at Queensland and New South Wales border)
Residents of Algester, Sunnybank Hills and Calamvale who have symptoms of the infection are especially urged to get tested as soon as possible.
The Sunshine State now has 20 active COVID-19 cases and the new positive case comes from 15,000 tests over the previous 24-hour period.
Ms Palaszczuk has also announced travellers coming from Greater Sydney will not be allowed into Queensland until at least the end of January.
‘I know this is very disappointing for people during this time, but we are concerned still about Greater Sydney. We have a watching brief as well on Victoria,’ she said.
‘We’ll be having a national cabinet meeting tomorrow. I’ll get further updates there.’
The border closure will be reviewed at the end of the month.