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Thousands of frantic Western Australians rush to supermarkets for a panic buying frenzy

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Thousands of Western Australians have stripped supermarket shelves of toilet paper, fruit and vegetables even before they learned of a five-day lockdown.

Metropolitan Perth and two nearby regions will enter a five-day hard lockdown after a hotel quarantine security guard attended more than a dozen venues while infected with COVID-19.    

From 6pm on Sunday, metropolitan Perth, the Peel region and the South West region will lock down until 6pm on Friday.

All residents must stay home unless shopping for essentials, attending to medical or healthcare needs, exercising within their neighbourhood or working if unable to do so remotely.

Even before Premier Mark McGowan’s lockdown announcement was made, scenes reminiscent of Sydney’s first Covid wave in March were captured across supermarkets in Perth.

scenes reminiscent of Sydney’s first Covid wave in March were captured across supermarkets in Perth on Sunday 

Coles in Floreat, in Perth's west, was so busy there were no trolleys left and fruit and vegetable shelves were stripped bare by lunchtime

Coles in Floreat, in Perth’s west, was so busy there were no trolleys left and fruit and vegetable shelves were stripped bare by lunchtime

Terrified families started queuing outside stores to pack their trolleys with toilet paper.

Coles in Floreat, in Perth’s west, was so busy there were no trolleys left and fruit and vegetable shelves were stripped bare by lunchtime.

Some northern suburbs stores were forced to close their doors to try and control the hoards of panic buyers. 

Mr McGowan told residents they would still be allowed to go shopping during lockdown and urged them to resist stock piling.

‘You do not need to go to the shops,’ he said. 

He warned that the lockdown will last at least five days, and if there are no new cases, authorities will look to slowly ease restrictions from that point onwards. 

The man worked two shifts at Sheraton Four Points in Perth CBD, and was stationed on a floor where at least one returned traveller was diagnosed with the highly infectious UK strain of the disease.

Authorities are investigating how the man came to be infected with Covid, and are adamant he did not ‘unnecessarily expose himself’ by entering any hotel rooms.  

By Thursday, the young man had developed symptoms and called in sick to work before presenting for Covid testing.

But authorities have already compiled a long list of locations across Perth that have potentially been exposed to the virus.

Mr McGowan told residents they would still be allowed to go shopping during lockdown and urged them to resist stock piling

Mr McGowan told residents they would still be allowed to go shopping during lockdown and urged them to resist stock piling

Some northern suburbs stores were forced to close their doors to try and control the hoards of panic buyers

Some northern suburbs stores were forced to close their doors to try and control the hoards of panic buyers

Pictured: People queuing to get into a supermarket in Perth after a five-day lockdown was announced

Pictured: People queuing to get into a supermarket in Perth after a five-day lockdown was announced 

The list will continue to grow in the coming days as contact tracers get further information, but already includes several businesses throughout the Maylands region.

The infected employee was registered on the SafeWA contact tracing app, which recorded his movements in the days prior to testing positive.

All pubs, clubs, playgrounds and gyms in Perth will close, while restaurants will be open for takeaway only and visits will be banned to care homes and hospitals.

Schools will remain closed – they were supposed to reopen on Monday for the first day of the year.

Face masks will also be mandatory outside of homes, and restrictions have also been reintroduced for funerals – limiting them to just 10 people for the duration of lockdown.

Anybody within the locked down regions were urged to stay put to avoid potentially spreading the virus to regional and vulnerable communities.

‘We are strongly encouraging that everyone in this area who is from another WA region, stay here,’ Mr McGowan said. ‘Do not travel further outside of this area until the lockdown is over.

The state had enjoyed close to 10 months without a single case of Covid-19 in the community, a feat Mr McGowan credits to his tough stance on borders. 

Due to the positive case, Perth residents will only be allowed to leave home to  shop for essential goods like groceries and medicine, seek medical treatment, exercise for one hour per day and work if a person cannot work remotely.

Premier Mark McGowan (pictured) warned that the lockdown will last at least five days, and if there are no new cases, authorities will look to slowly ease restrictions from that point onwards

Premier Mark McGowan (pictured) warned that the lockdown will last at least five days, and if there are no new cases, authorities will look to slowly ease restrictions from that point onwards

Pictured: People lining up with full supermarket trolleys in Perth supermarkets

Pictured: People lining up with full supermarket trolleys in Perth supermarkets

All pubs, clubs, playgrounds and gyms in Perth will close, while restaurants will be open for takeaway only and visits will be banned to care homes and hospitals. 

Schools will remain closed – after they were supposed to reopen on Monday. 

WA had gone nearly ten months without a virus case in the WA community. 

In March, Prime Minister Scott Morrison condemned panic buyers for emptying shelves around the nation.

‘On bulk purchasing of supplies: Stop hoarding, I can’t be more blunt about it — stop it,’ he said. 

‘It is not sensible, it is not helpful and it has been one of the most disappointing things I have seen in Australian behaviour in response to this crisis.

‘That is not who we are as a people, it is not necessary, it is not something that people should be doing.’

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