Huge lines have formed outside supermarkets in Adelaide, as South Australia heads into a “punishing” lockdown in an effort to combat a second wave of coronavirus.
The state’s premier Steven Marshall announced the strict new measures on Wednesday, as the Covid-19 cluster grew to 22 confirmed cases.
However, South Australia’s police commissioner Grant Stevens has warned the state’s residents not to panic buy in anticipation of the lockdown starting at midnight on Wednesday.
“There is no need for people to rush to supermarkets and if you do go shopping this afternoon, you should expect that you will be managed by staff at the supermarkets and we will have police officers on standby,” Mr Stevens said.
The commissioner said police would attend and react to any civil disorder.
The state’s chief medical officer Nicola Spurrier also told people there is no need to rush to supermarkets.
“We all need to look after each other,” Professor Spurrier said.
“There’s no point panicking and rushing to the shops and buying up lots of toilet paper. We have to be looking out for other people.”
Despite this, hordes of people have flocked to supermarkets to get essential items.
Photos sent to Yahoo News Australia show people lining up outside Foodland on Norwood Parade in Adelaide.
While social media posts also suggest “panic buying has begun”.
— srdele (@srdele) November 18, 2020
The premier also assured people there would be time to get essential items for the six-day lockdown, which will be followed by an eight-day period where restrictions will be eased.
“We are keeping supermarkets open in South Australia,” Mr Marshall said.
“There is no point going off to the supermarket this afternoon.”
All schools, pubs, cafes and restaurants will close during the six-day lockdown, with the message to South Australians being “stay at home”, though people are allowed to leave their home to access essential services.
Masks must be worn at all times if people do need to leave their home.
Outdoor sport, travel, wedding and funerals are not permitted while aged care facilities will be in lockdown and the construction industry will be shut down.
Mr Marshall said while the restrictions were tough they were necessary.
"Of course, we know the restrictions are going to be very punishing ... but we know we're doing it for the right reasons to stop a far harsher lockdown which will come if we allow the virus to get away from us."
PM thanks South Australians
In an Instagram post, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he had been in contact with the South Australian premier, who briefed him on the state’s response to the outbreak.
“The establishment of a pre-emptive and temporary six-day lockdown to keep South Australians safe and stay ahead of the outbreak draws on lessons from earlier outbreak experiences,” Mr Morrison said on Instagram.
“These are precautionary and temporary measures with a clear end date.
“I want to thank South Australians for their patience and cooperation.”
South Australians rally together on social media
On social media, people reacting to the news SA would re-enter lockdown appeared to be optimistic for the most part.
Many were hoping the six-day lockdown will allow for the state to get ahead of the outbreak and were encouraging others to follow the rules.
“We can do this South Australia,” one person tweeted.
“A 6 day lockdown is not that long if we do this right we'll be better off in the long run #StayHome play some games watch movies/TV shows together we can beat this.”
#COVIDSA We can do this south australia a 6 day lockdown is not that long if we do this right we'll be better off in the long run #StayHome play some games watch movies/tv shows together we can beat this #WeAreSouthAustralian #SAlockdown #InThisTogether
— Jake (@aussieaussie29) November 18, 2020
Many people from around Australia sympathised with those who are now hours away from the lockdown.
“Thoughts and hopes to South Australia, these are dangerous times,” someone from Queensland tweeted.
“Sorry to hear about the lockdown, but well done to your CHO for locking down hard and fast. Fingers crossed that it is short and simple.”
Supermarkets reintroduce buying limits
From Thursday, Woolworths will enforce buying limits on multiple items both in-store and online.
In addition to the buying limits, Woolworths is also expecting all customers to wear face masks, as per the government’s directive.
A two-pack per customer limit now applies to toilet paper, paper towels and tissues at the supermarket.
It has been implemented at all Coles supermarkets and Coles Express stores and Coles Online orders within South Australia.
“The limits do not currently apply to any other states or products, however we will continue to monitor stock levels and ask that customers purchase only what they need,” a Coles spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia on Tuesday.
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