Shoppers in Australia's second-biggest city stripped supermarket shelves yesterday as millions in Melbourne prepared for a return to virus lockdown.
Five million residents were ordered back into a six-week lockdown beginning midnight yesterday as soaring community transmission of the coronavirus brings more than 100 new cases daily.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said a shutdown is necessary and promised continuing financial support for businesses that fear they won't survive a second lockdown.
"I hope it isn't for that long. I hope it's for a shorter period as possible,'' he said.
Breaches of infection controls at Melbourne hotels, where international travelers are required to isolate for 14 days, have been blamed for much of the disease spread.
The country's largest supermarket chain, Woolworths, said it had reimposed buying limits on certain items after shoppers rushed to stores across Victoria.
Around 3,000 people in Melbourne have already been locked inside their homes since Saturday in Australia's strictest coronavirus response to date after a cluster emerged in a high-rise public housing estate.