Coronavirus: Panic-buying begins as Victoria braces for seven-day lockdown

Supermarket shelves in Melbourne have been cleared as Victoria prepares to enter a seven-day lockdown.

There are currently 26 active COVID-19 cases linked to the latest cluster, 12 of which were announced on Wednesday. As a result, the state of Victoria will enter a seven-day "circuit-breaker" lockdown at 11:59pm on Thursday (local time).

The impending lockdown has caused some Australians to panic-buy and clear supermarket shelves of toilet paper before it comes into effect. Supermarkets will still be open during the lockdown.

"It's begun," one person said on Twitter, attaching a photo of some nearly empty supermarket shelves.

"The world moves on to vaccines etc as Melbourne reverts back to toilet paper wars," another said.

One Twitter user claims shelves were cleared of toilet paper just "minutes" after the lockdown was announced.

Acting Victoria Premier James Merlino urged Victorians to stop panic-buying.

"Everything we need in terms of our goods and services on the supermarket shelves is there," he says.

"There is absolutely no reason to panic buy. Please don't do it." 

This latest outbreak has been linked back to a Melbourne man who tested positive for COVID-19 on May 11 after contracting the virus during his quarantine at Adelaide's Playford Hotel.

More than 150 exposure sites have been identified, including several bars, Marvel Stadium, and the MCG.

There are only a few reasons people will be able to leave the house during the lockdown. They are: shopping for essential items, exercising with one other person, caregiving, going to work where it isn't possible to work from home, and getting vaccinated.