Health authorities are racing to contain the mystery cluster on the Northern Beaches which on Thursday evening jumped to 17 people.
More than 200,000 residents in the Northern Beaches have been told to stay home for the next three days as authorities desperately try to halt the spread of the virus.
The quasi-lockdown has prompted many to rush to the supermarket to buy items, with shelves stripped of toilet paper in near-identical scenes to those seen earlier this year.
A shopper posted a photo of a depleted toilet paper shelf to Twitter, claiming it was taken within an hour of new restrictions being announced.
“The queue to get out extended back to the freezers at the back of the store,” she added.
Somebody commented on the tweet that the purchasing of essentials was “necessary preparation”.
— Gemma Williams (@gemwilliams9) December 17, 2020
Coronavirus ‘panic buying’ sparks outrage online
One person on Twitter simply wrote on Friday morning that “toilet paper [is] running out in northern beaches supermarkets”.
“Here we go again for another bout of irrationality,” another said.
Woolworths is also experiencing toilet paper shortages at some stores, with a customer writing on Twitter shelves at Woolworths Balgowlah were nearly empty.
In another photo posted to Facebook, a shopper urged people to avoid Glenrose Woolworths as a queue of people extended to the back of the store.
“You are kidding,” one commented.
“Let the stockpiling begin,” another said.
“Unbelievable,” a third added.
People flocking to supermarkets to comes just a week before Christmas, coinciding with the busiest time of year for stores.
A Woolworths spokesperson said there had been a slight uptick in demand in some Northern Beaches stores, but now anywhere near the levels seen earlier this year.
“We’ll continue to keep a close eye on demand and our stock levels,” the spokesperson said.
“We ask customers to buy only what they need, as we have plenty of stock to replenish our shelves.”
Sydney Covid cluster linked to international case
The coronavirus cluster in Sydney’s Northern Beaches has been sourced back to an international case, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has confirmed.
“Somehow that’s gotten out into the community. The original source is an overseas strain and the genomic testing will give us more details, I’m hoping later today,” she told the Nine Network on Friday morning.
“All of us in broader Sydney have to be on high alert... We may have been in contact with someone from the Northern Beaches.
“We’re also concerned that some people who may have had the virus on the Northern Beaches may not know it, may have been infectious while they visited other parts of Sydney.”
Ms Berejiklian confirmed more cases linked to the cluster would be announced later on Friday.
Two Northern Beaches cases were announced on Wednesday evening, with three more described by health authorities at a press conference on Thursday morning.
News of 12 further infections came on Thursday afternoon.
Authorities believe interactions at Avalon RSL on December 11 and Avalon Bowlo on December 13 may have acted as super-spreader events.
One of the new cases is an aged care worker at the Pittwater Palms facility.
Health alerts have now been issued for almost 30 venues across Sydney, while multiple Northern Beaches community facilities have shut.
Yahoo News Australia has contacted Coles for comment.
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