Supermarkets in Victoria were packed on Friday afternoon as residents rushed to stock up on supplies ahead of a five-day coronavirus lockdown.
Panicked mums and dads raced to Coles and Woolworths to get their hands on food and essential supplies as shelves were stripped bare, prompting product limits for items including toilet paper, milk and flour.
The chaos hit just minutes after Premier Daniel Andrews plunged all of Victoria into lockdown from midnight amid fears the hyper-infectious UK strain of coronavirus is spreading ‘at light speed’ around the state after leaking from a quarantine hotel at Melbourne Airport.
Supermarkets in Victoria were packed on Friday afternoon as residents rushed to stock up on supplies ahead of a five-day coronavirus lockdown
Victoria’s latest outbreak began on Monday when a hotel quarantine worker at the Holiday Inn at Melbourne Airport caught the virus on Monday. Pictured: Panic buying
Coles and Woolworths stores were rammed with shoppers buying food and essentials. Pictured: Empty shelves in a Coles
Product limits were introduced for items including toilet paper, milk and flour. Pictured: Shoppers at Woolworths
Two fans enjoying the final day of the Melbourne Open before lockdown. The tournament will proceed without fans from Saturday
Stage Four restrictions endured by Victorians during winter have been re-imposed with residents confined to their homes except for two hours of exercise, essential shopping, care-giving and work.
Schools will be closed, masks must be worn everywhere except in the home and private and public gatherings are banned, meaning tennis fans cannot attend the Australian Open from Saturday.
Premier Andrews warned the deadly disease was ‘moving at a velocity that has not been seen anywhere in our country’ and said there will be more cases than the 13 identified since Monday.
‘Because this is so infectious and is moving so fast, we need a circuit breaker,’ he said.
‘We have to assume, based on advice, that there’s transmission out there that we don’t know about, and that it’s not moving quickly, it’s moving at light speed.’
All of Victoria will be plunged into a five-day Stage Four lockdown from midnight. Fans will not be able to attend the Australian Open – but Friday’s matches will go ahead with spectators
Fans enjoyed Friday at the Australian Open – the last day before lockdown
NEW RESTRICTIONS FOR VICTORIA FROM 11.59PM ON FRIDAY FEB 12
From Friday February 12 at 11.59pm, new rules apply to Victoria for five days until 11.59pm on Wednesday February 17 due to a worrying new outbreak of the UK mutant strain of Covid-19.
- Stage Four lockdown for the entire state
- Only four essential reasons to leave the house – essential shopping, essential work/education, care-giving or two hours of exercise per day
- All residents must stay within 5km of their home other than essential work or shopper
- Outdoor exercise must be with your household, intimate partner or one other person not from your household
- Mandatory masks everywhere except your home
- No visitors to anyone’s home
- All non-essential shops will be closed
- Public gatherings banned
- Work from home
- Schools closed except for vulnerable children
- Places of worship closed
- Weddings banned
- Funerals capped at 10 people
- Community spaces including swimming pools and libraries closed
Mr Andrews said he believed the lockdown will be effective and hoped the restrictions could be removed on Wednesday night as planned.
‘We will be able to smother this. We will be able to prevent it getting away from us,’ he said.
‘I want to be here on Wednesday next week announcing that these restrictions are coming off, but I can’t do it on my own. I need every single Victorian to work with me.’
But the premier warned the state’s contact tracing team was struggling due to the rapid spread of the virus.
Pictured: Tennis fans enjoy day four of the Australian Open. Crowds will be banned from Saturday
A hotel quarantine worker without a mask at the Intercontinental on Collins Street in Melbourne. The picture was taken by a guest and sent to Nine News on Friday
Coles product limits
One pack per customer:
Two packs per customer:
Fresh white milk
Long life milk
‘By the time we find a case as positive, they’ve already infected their close contacts. Their family. People they live with, people they’ve spent time with. That makes it incredibly difficult, incredibly difficult to do contact tracing,’ he said.
Mr Andrews explained he decided to include regional Victoria in the lockdown to stop Melbourne residents fleeing and taking the virus with them.
‘I know this will be difficult. I know it will be painful. But there is no option. This things moves so fast,’ he said.
Mr Andrews also said the federal government should consider drastically reducing the number of Australians returning home from overseas.
‘Should we be having the total number of people coming home? Or should it be a much smaller program that’s based on compassionate grounds? That’s a conversation we should have,’ he said.
Victoria’s four-month shutdown over the winter was due a catastrophic failure of the state’s hotel quarantine system which led to 800 deaths and 20,000 cases.
Fresh concerns about the system have been raised after a worker at the Intercontinental on Collins Street was pictured walking through the hotel without a mask on Friday.
All states and territories have imposed border restrictions except New South Wales which is frantically contacting 7,000 people who entered from Victoria after visiting exposure sites to ask them to self-isolate for 14 days.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will close her borders to Greater Melbourne from 1am on Saturday.
Western Australia has reimposed a hard border with Victoria for at least 72 hours from 6pm Perth time and Tasmania has also banned travellers from the state from midnight.
The Northern Territory has declared Greater Melbourne a hotspot and imposed 14-day supervised quarantine for arrivals while the ACT has imposed a self-quarantine rule.
South Australia has extended its border ban to the whole of Victoria.
The state’s latest outbreak began on Monday when a hotel quarantine worker at the Holiday Inn at Melbourne Airport caught the virus from a returned traveller before more guests and workers caught the disease.
Scott Morrison (pictured in Melbourne on Thursday) has backed a short, sharp lockdown of Melbourne as a Covid-19 cluster grows to 13, with five new cases reported on Friday
Left: Tennis player Wang Qiang of China. Right: Tennis player Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic waits in line to receive a Covid-19 test
Two of the five new infections reported on Friday are husbands of waitresses at the hotel.
A close contact of a positive case worked at the Brunetti cafe at Melbourne Airport on Tuesday, sparking fears hundreds of travellers may have been exposed.
Meanwhile, coronavirus fragments have been detected in wastewater in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, leading to fears there may be a flood of new cases in the coming days.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison backed the lockdown, telling radio 3AW: ‘The short, sharp, proportionate response that we saw in a couple of other states dealing with similar challenges proved to be quite effective, particularly up there in Brisbane.’
‘I think that proportionate, targeted responses are the most effective way to deal with this,’ he added.
For most of the pandemic, the prime minister has favoured a relaxed approach to restrictions that avoids city-wide lockdowns and border closures.
He was fiercely critical of Victoria’s four-month winter lockdown and described Mr Andrews’ plan to extend restrictions in September as ‘hard and crushing news for the people of Victoria.’
But his stance changed in January when he backed Brisbane’s three-day shut down after a hotel quarantine cleaner caught a highly infectious new strain of the virus.
Melbourne ‘s worrying Covid cluster has now climbed to 13 cases after five more positive tests linked to the Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport (pictured) were recorded
State government advisers were instructed to draw up plans for a potential lockdown as early as Friday evening – spelling an end to crowds at the Australian Open
He also supported a five-day lockdown of Perth earlier this month over a single case linked to hotel quarantine.
Sources say Mr Morrison has become more in favour of lockdowns because they are popular with voters who are scared of catching the virus and because state premiers will enforce them anyway.
Mr Andrews held crisis talks with health chiefs on Thursday night after five new infections were linked to the Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport cluster, bringing the outbreak to 13 cases.
Chief Medical Officer Brett Sutton revealed officials had been discussing lockdown since Monday.
Cleaners wearing full PPE disinfect the Holiday Inn Hotel on February 10, 2021 at Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport
Pictured: Workers in full PPE disinfects the Holiday Inn Hotel Melbourne Airport
A source within Emergency Management Victoria fears they’ve ‘lost control’ of the outbreak. Pictured: A health worker carries out Covid testing in South Melbourne on February 5
There are deep concerns about the failure of the state’s contact tracers to join the dots between the confirmed cases, their close contacts, and the alarming results of the sewage testing.
Melbournians were under stay-at-home orders for 111 days consecutive days from July to November after the virus breached hotel quarantine.
The debacle that saw the virus breach the state’s hotel quarantine program last year was blamed on the inadequate virus control protocols by private security staff put in place by the Andrews government.
This time around the hotel quarantine breach is thought to be the result of an ‘exposure event’.
‘The working hypothesis is three cases are linked to an exposure event that involved a medical device called a nebuliser,’ Professor Sutton said on Wednesday.
‘It vaporises medication or liquid into a very fine mist.
The outbreak within the state’s hotel quarantine program will put Victorians on edge after residents last year endured 111 days under lockdown. Pictured: Residents line up for Covid testing in Melbourne
‘If that’s breathed in and someone is infectious or later tests positive then that picks up the virus and then that mist can be suspended in the air with very fine aerosolised particles.’
The man who used the nebuliser in hotel quarantine is now in ICU with coronavirus. Nebulisers are banned but the man used one anyway.
Up to 500 people have been deemed ‘close contacts’ of the 13 confirmed cases.
About 135 of them included quarantine workers at the Holiday Inn and returned travellers.
With the Australian Open in full swing, a lockdown would see the end of crowds at the multi-million-dollar Grand Slam – and could possibly create problems for staff and organisers working at Melbourne Park.
Latest Covid exposure sites:
Melbourne Airport Terminal 4: Brunetti cafe. 04.45am-1.15pm on 9/2/2021
Brighton: North Point Cafe, 2B North Rd. 08.10-09.30 on 31/1/2021. Case dined outside and used bathroom
Brandon Park: Kmart, Brandon Park Shopping Centre, Cnr Springvale Rd and Ferntree Gully Rd. 16.35-17.10 on 31/1/2021. Case attended venue
Clayton South: Nakama Workshop, 85 Main Rd. 11.15-12.00 on 1/2/2021. Case attended venue
Glen Waverley: Commonwealth Bank, 28/32 Kingsway, 1.30pm – 2.15pm on 9.2.2021. Case attended venue
Glen Waverley: HSBC Bank, 38 Kingsway, 2.15pm-3.30pm on 9/2/2021. Case attended venue
Heatherton: Melbourne Golf Academy, 385 Centre Dandenong Rd. 17.19-18.35 on 1/2/2021. Case attended venue
Keysborough: Aces Sporting Club (Driving Range), Cnr Springvale Rd and Hutton Rd. 22.00-23.15 on 30/1/2021. Case attended venue
Keysborough: Kmart, Parkmore Keysborough Shopping Centre, C/317 Cheltenham Rd. 16.00-17.00 on 31/1/2021. Case attended venue
Maidstone: Marciano’s Cakes, 126 Mitchell St. 09.45-10.25, 5/2/2021. Case attended venue
Melbourne: Exford Hotel, 199 Russell St. 23.00-23.35 on 29/1/2021. Case attended bottle shop
Moorabbin Airport: Lululemon, DFO Moorabbin, Shop G-039/250 Centre Dandenong Rd. 17.00-17.45 on 1/2/2021. Case attended venue
Noble Park: Club Noble, 46/56 Moodemere St. 14.36-15.30 on 30/01/2021. Case attended venue
Springvale: Bunnings Springvale, 849 Princes Hwy. 11.30-12.15 on 1/2/2021. Case attended venue
Springvale: Coles Springvale, 825 Dandenong Rd. 17.00-18.00 on 31/1/2021. Case attended venue
Springvale: Sharetea Springvale, 27C Buckingham Ave. 18.50-19.30 on 1/2/2021. Case attended venue
Springvale: Woolworths Springvale, 302 Springvale Rd. 18.30-19.30 on 1/2/2021. Case attended venue
Sunbury: PJ’s Pet Warehouse. 3:37pm – 4:10pm on 5.2.2021. Case attended venue
Sunbury: Bakers Delight at Sunbury Square Shopping Centre. 3:40pm – 4:15pm on 5/2/2021. Case attended venue;
Sunbury: Al Dente Deli at Sunbury Square Shopping Centre. 3:45pm – 4:23pm on 5/2/2021. Case attended venue;
Sunbury: Sushi Sushi at Sunbury Square Shopping Centre. 3:53pm – 4:28pm on 5/2/2021. Case attended venue;
Sunbury: Asian Star at Sunbury Square Shopping Centre: 3:57pm – 4:30pm on 5/2/2021. Case attended venue;
Sunbury: Sunny Life Massage at Sunbury Square Shopping Centre. 4:30pm – 6:30pm on 6/2/2021. Case attended venue;
Sunbury: Cellarbrations 34 Batman Ave. 6:17pm – 7:02pm on 6/2/2021. Case attended venue;
Sunbury: Cellarbrations, 34 Batman Ave. 5:44pm – 6:19pm 7/2/2021. Case attended venue.
Sunshine: Dan Murphy’s, 47 McIntyre Rd. 17.50-18.30 on 5/2/2021. Case attended venue
Sunshine: Dan Murphy’s, 47 McIntyre Rd,18.50-19.30 on 6/2/2021. Case attended venue
Taylors Lakes: Off Ya Tree Watergardens, 399 Melton Highway. 13.00-13.52 on 6/2/2021. Case attended venue
West Melbourne: Kebab Kingz, 438 Spencer St. 23.24-00.15 on 29/1/2021. Case dined outside