New Zealand: Shoppers involved in altercation over toilet paper
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Jacinda Ardern announced on Tuesday New Zealand would be plunged back into full lockdown restrictions over one case of the Delta variant of coronavirus. The restrictions are set to last for three days from Wednesday, but shoppers have scrambled to secure supplies.
Footage from a supermarket in Manurewa, South Auckland, showed shoppers fighting over essentials.
Police this evening said they were increasing visibility at supermarkets in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland to provide reassurance to the public and to workers after reports of lengthy queues.
Kiri Hannifin, general manager of corporate affairs at a supermarket chain Countdown, has urged New Zealanders to calm down.
She said: “We’re already in the process of preparing our stores for a change in alert level protocols and ask customers to keep calm and kind while we do this.
“We know this is unnerving news for everyone, but we are well-practiced at shopping safely during alert level changes and we can do it again.”
A resident of Rolleston, just south of Christchurch, called the panic “moronic”.
They told the NZ Herald: “I was doing my weekly shop when it (lockdown) was announced.
“Five minutes later people were sprinting – genuinely sprinting – to the toilet paper section.
“Moronic. Loo paper is made locally, so it won’t run out.”
Shoppers outside Countdown Mt Eden told Newshub the supermarket was “pumping” within an hour of the announcement, with dozens of people already in line and trolleys piled high.
New Zealand’s single case of the Delta variant of Covid was confirmed in Auckland on Tuesday, which then led to more community cases.
On Wednesday four new cases of Covid were recorded, all located in Auckland.
It is unknown where New Zealand’s outbreak of Covid began, with patient zero being a local case.
Auckland’s lockdown will last at least for the next week, and the rest of New Zealand will be locked down for three day.
Ms Ardern defended the move to throw New Zealand back into lockdown over a small outbreak.
She said: “Going hard and early has worked for us before.
“While we know that Delta is a more dangerous enemy to combat, the same actions that overcome the virus last year can be applied to beat it again.”
When asked by a reporter what she would say to people who questioned the need for a full lockdown, New Zealand’s Prime Minister responded with one word: “Australia.”
The Australian state of New South Wales has struggled to contain its Covid outbreak, and as of Wednesday, it had 8,000 active cases.
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