COVID-19 panic buying strikes Melbourne as shoppers hit supermarkets head of ...

Panic buyers desperate to stock up on essential groceries ahead of an expected stage four lockdown in Victoria have flooded supermarkets across Melbourne. 

Shoppers in face masks were waiting outside the doors of some stores as early as 7am on Sunday in a bid to snap up dwindling meat supplies before the morning rush.

Thousands of people were seen at South Melbourne Market, despite massive lines for fresh and local produce.  

Butchers and bottle shops were also flooded with customers desperate to stockpile meat and booze before the looming lockdown.

The panic buying has already left fresh meat shelves bare in some Woolworths stores in central Melbourne, angering other locals who have called for calm.   

Panic buyers have crammed into Melbourne supermarkets to stock up on essential groceries ahead of an expected stage four lockdown (pictured, shoppers at the South Melbourne Market on Sunday)

Panic buyers have crammed into Melbourne supermarkets to stock up on essential groceries ahead of an expected stage four lockdown (pictured, shoppers at the South Melbourne Market on Sunday)

Premier Daniel Andrews is expected to announce more than 650 new positive tests as the state's worsening crisis shows no signs ending (pictured, shoppers wearing face masks visit the South Melbourne Market on Sunday)

Premier Daniel Andrews is expected to announce more than 650 new positive tests as the state's worsening crisis shows no signs ending (pictured, shoppers wearing face masks visit the South Melbourne Market on Sunday)

Racing.com editor in chief Paul Tatnell said one store had likened the rush to holiday shopping. 

'Lockdown panic is well and truly alive,' he said.  'Shortage of meat and staples already. One shop likened it to the Christmas rush.' 

Premier Daniel Andrews is expected to announce more than 650 new positive tests and a record number of deaths as the state's worsening crisis shows no signs ending.

His is also expected to confirm Melbourne will to go into strict Stage 4 lockdown from Wednesday after a week of speculation. 

The state will likely close all but essential businesses and send high-school students back to learning from home.

If they go ahead they will be the harshest restrictions that Australia has seen and will be similar to the lockdown imposed by New Zealand.  

Near empty shelves are seen at the vegetable section of a supermarket in Melbourne on Sunday

Near empty shelves are seen at the vegetable section of a supermarket in Melbourne on Sunday

Supermarkets were flooded with customers on Sunday as a Stage Four lockdown is expected to be announced

Supermarkets were flooded with customers on Sunday as a Stage Four lockdown is expected to be announced

Although supermarkets would still be allowed to operate under the new restrictions, some residents have still rushed to the shelves and angered fellow locals

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