Watch: Snap national lockdown in New Zealand over single virus case
Shoppers have crowded New Zealand supermarkets ahead of the country going into lockdown – following a single coronavirus case.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the whole country will shut down for at least three days from Wednesday after a 58-year-old man tested positive.
Auckland and Coromandel, where the man spent time over the weekend, will be in lockdown for seven days.
Ardern’s announcement led to shoppers crowding supermarkets on Tuesday to stock up on essentials, despite supermarkets being one of the few types of businesses which will remain open during the lockdown.
The New Zealand Herald reported a number of stores had seen huge queues, while pictures posted on social media also showed empty bread and toilet paper shelves.
Absolute scenes at the supermarket, this is the queue for the checkout 💀 pic.twitter.com/Jgj3dP3I6e
— Popi Mokorahi 🌹 (@Megapope) August 17, 2021
This is the toilet shelves in Countdown in Kati Kati. We are over 2 hours from Auckland. pic.twitter.com/Hq5hSnAQEI
— Maria Sherwood (@MariaSherwood2) August 17, 2021
The paper reported police are even “increasing visibility” at stores to “provide reassurance” to workers and shoppers.
Meanwhile, Countdown, one of the country’s main supermarket chains, urged shoppers to “keep calm” and insisted “there is plenty of food and other groceries, so there's no need to buy more than you need”.
The single COVID-19 case on Tuesday was the first to be identified in New Zealand in six months.
The country has enforced a “go hard, go early” strategy which has minimised cases to just 2,570 through the pandemic.
New Zealand will be in the strictest possible level four lockdown, which will see schools, offices and most businesses close.
Justifying the move, Ardern said: "The best thing we can do to get out of this as quickly as we can is to go hard.
"We have made the decision on the basis that it is better to start high and go down levels rather than to go low, not contain the virus and see it move quickly."
Watch: UK reported 28,438 new COVID cases on Monday