One of Australia's largest cities has been placed into total lockdown after a cleaner at a quarantine hotel tested positive for the highly contagious mutant strain of Covid-19.
Brisbane shut down for three days from Friday and masks will become compulsory in the city for the first time over fears the variant will spread rapidly – as it has across the UK.
Queensland's state capital has seen very few cases of coronavirus since Australia's first wave last year beyond quarantined travellers.
The shock announcement was immediately followed by panic buying in shops and supermarkets as locals stocked up on supplies with the wild scenes shown on social media.
Queensland chief health officer Jeannette Young said: "We know that that strain is 70% more infectious and we know the extreme difficulty that the UK has had in controlling their outbreak due to that strain."
The cleaner is the first person to be infected with the new variant in Australia. Authorities believe the woman, aged in her 20s, was infectious from January 2 and she tested positive after showing symptoms on Wednesday.
The lockdown allows people to leave their homes for four reasons: to go to work if they cannot work from home, to buy essential groceries and medicine, to look after the vulnerable and to exercise.
Despite this pubs, restaurants and cafes can open for takeaway and delivery services.
Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the country would be nearly halving the number of passengers allowed to enter the country by plane in a bid to half the spread of the mutant strain.
That rule will stay in place in the key states of New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia until February 15, while arrivals into Victoria were already relatively low and would remain unchanged.
Australia has only reported 28,500 coronavirus infections and 909 deaths since the pandemic began, both numbers smaller than the UK reported just yesterday.
In anticipation of the lockdown people in Brisbane decided to stock up in scenes similar to those in the UK at different points during the health crisis.
Branches of the popular discount supermarket Coles seemed particularly hard hit.
Dr Young urged Brisbane residents not to descend into panic buying mode.
She said: "There will be no need to buy up big. If you've got enough for the next three days, stay home and wait to do your shopping until next week.
"There is absolutely no issue, all our shops are fully stocked, there will be nothing stopping that from happening."