Queensland supermarkets fed up with panicked shoppers emptying store shelves have urged the state government to call for calm.
Acting Premier Steven Miles reassured the millions of locked-down residents on Monday that supermarkets won’t run out of stock after he announced an extension to southeast Queensland’s snap three-day lockdown.
Panic buying was rife at the weekend. Long lines formed at checkouts in the Sunshine Coast, with people rushing to get supplies ahead of what would be the “strictest” lockdown measures enforced in Queensland since the start of the pandemic.
“I’ve received a request from our supermarkets to send a message to Queenslanders that we are still seeing some panic buying, and there is no need for panic buying,” Mr Miles told reporters.
Photos and videos posted to social media showed supermarkets packed with people.
Shoppers reported lines “out the door”, with some saying they had to wait for up to 30 minutes for a register.
One queue at a Coles store in New Farm stretched for a long way down the pavement outside.
Residents seemed to ignore Mr Miles’ earlier warning that anyone who partook in panic buying could be exacerbating the situation.
“We have been in contact with the supermarkets, they are all well supplied,” he said.
“So, anyone rushing stockpiling, it just makes the jobs of our supermarkets and our essential workers in those supermarkets even harder and more risky.”
The state recorded 13 new locally acquired cases of the Delta strain on Monday, all linked to a cluster involving high-risk exposure sites including six schools and public transport routes.
A snap three-day lockdown due to end at 4pm on Tuesday has been extended until 4pm on Sunday, so that contact tracers can find people who have come into contact with infected individuals and get them to quarantine.
Chief health officer Jeannette Young warned the length of the lockdown would depend on how seriously residents of the southeast corner took her stay-at-home order.
“We need to lock down really, really hard – the hardest we have ever locked down,” she told Queenslanders on Monday. “If you don’t need to leave your house, don’t.”
The cluster began on Thursday with a single positive case involving a 17-year-old student from Indooroopilly State High School. By Saturday, there were six more cases. On Sunday, nine more were added.
Of the 13 new cases reported on Monday seven are students from Ironside State School, five are household or family contacts of those students, and one is linked to a confirmed case associated with a karate school that trains at that school.
Acting Premier Steven Miles said Queensland had never before seen an outbreak involving significant spread amongst students, teachers, parents, extracurricular activities and public transport.
“It will likely see thousands of people subject to home quarantine directions,” he warned.