The entire state of New South Wales was plunged into lockdown with just 90 minutes notice yesterday, sparking wild scenes as panic buying took hold.
Residents were told at 3.30pm local time that they would be locking down at 5pm.
Photos of long queues and empty shelves have proliferated on social media and in an extreme case of panic buying, someone tried to sell their spot in the Woolworths queue over a Facebook marketplace ad to people desperate to buy groceries.
Police have been spotted outside a Woolworths store entrance in the southwestern town of Griffith as panic grips its customers.
The southwestern town of Griffith was in the throes of a panic before the 5pm lockdown, with huge queues spotted coming out of its Woolworths store.
Police were spotted standing at the shop’s entrance.
Toilet paper there ran out around 4pm, according to a photo of an empty shelf sent to news.com.au.
Berejiklian slammed for online reveal
The decision to expand the lockdown came on the state’s worst day ever. NSW recorded 466 community transmissions yesterday.
But NSW residents were not impressed by the decision of the state’s Premier Gladys Berejiklian to announce the new regional lockdown over Twitter.
Berejiklian didn’t make an appearance at a live press conference.
People who know elderly people in the regions are concerned that the message won’t get across.
Berejiklian was lambasted online by critics saying she must have known about the lockdown and should have announced it at her daily 11am press conference.
“You need to go in front of the cameras,” wrote one person.
“NSW health website isn’t even updated yet. How will people know? Not everyone is on the internet. Shameful.”
Another added: “Wait… NSW held a press conf at 11am but didn’t announce the state wide lockdown, instead sort of but not really announcing it at 3pm, to start at 5pm?”
One more person pointed out “Perhaps Gladys forgot to mention this in today’s press conference? Is there anything else she forgot to tell her citizens?”
Stay-at-home orders are in place across the state until 12.01am on Sunday, August 22.
Anyone who leaves their home will need to have a reasonable excuse. They also cannot have visitors from outside their household, including family and friends. All hospitality venues will be closed to the public, including pubs, restaurants and cafes, except for takeaways. Most retail premises are required to close.
People who leave their home are required to carry a mask with them at all times. They must be worn when working outdoors, by all school staff, by all people in outdoor markets, outdoor shopping strips and in an outdoor queues waiting for products such as coffee and food.
An unprecedented flood of NSW police officers, including heavily armed riot squad officers, and several hundred extra Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel will also inundate Sydney in a major lockdown compliance operation.
The extraordinary show of force is in response to the worsening Covid-19 crisis in NSW.
Those high up the police food chain have pressured Berejiklian to beef up their powers with an updated health order, blaming low compliance for spiking infections.
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