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New Zealand Supermarkets Flocked by Panic-Buyers as Country Reimposes Lockdown

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  • Panic-buyers swarmed supermarkets to buy food and necessities after the government reimposed new lockdown restrictions on Tuesday.
  • Despite Prime Minister Jacinda Arden’s assurance of ample food supply, citizens rushed to the markets in panic.
  • New Zealand had gone 102 days without new Covid-19 cases, until four people in the same household in Auckland tested positive of the virus.

After more than a hundred days without any local Covid-19 transmission, new cases re-emerged in New Zealand. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Arden temporarily reimposed new restrictions as a household of four in Auckland tested positive of coronavirus.

A strict Stay-at-home order (Stage 3) has immediately been declared in the immediate area of the outbreak, while the rest of the country has been reminded to limit gatherings and observe social distancing (Stage 2).

Prime Minister Jacinda Arden has not even finished her press conference yet, but people headed straight out to supermarkets.
Despite her assurance that stores would remain fully stocked, panic-buyers gathered, ignoring social distancing rules.

A Supermarket chain already released a public plea, requesting consumers to stick to their normal shopping behaviour. In one of the supermarket’s branch, people ripped the door open and scrambled inside. They had to call the authorities to control the crowd. According to the Metro, amongst the group of people was a woman with her child, who insisted she needed food for the baby.

Anxious shoppers swarmed two more of the Supermarket’s branches.

Parking lots overflowed outside of the stores as people queue to shop. Cars also congested the highways because travellers wanted to escape Auckland immediately. Although, the Prime Minister stated people will be allowed to return home during lockdown.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff urged the people to calm down. He also reminded them that they had already won against the virus before, and they can do it again.

“I understand that people are probably feeling a little bit scared, a little angry and a little confused right now. None of us wanted to go back into a lockdown, but we always knew this was a very real possibility,’ the Mayor said.” I am urging Aucklanders to come together like we did last time to stamp out community transmission. Please remain calm, please do not panic buy and please follow the lockdown rules.”

The Prime Minister, however, expressed her concerns about the origin of the new infections; the family had not travelled overseas. Contact tracers are expecting to see more cases linked to group.

We are asking people in Auckland to stay home to stop the spread. Act as if you have Covid, and as if the people around you have Covid,” said the Prime Minister.

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