Frenzied shoppers in New Zealand have been spotted panic buying and fighting over toilet paper in supermarkets after the country went into lockdown.
New Zealand recorded four new cases of Covid-19 overnight, bringing the total to five infections after an unknown local case threw the nation into lockdown.
‘I was doing my weekly shop when it (lockdown) was announced. Five minutes later people were sprinting – genuinely sprinting – to the toilet paper section,’ a resident of Rolleston, just south of Christchurch, told the NZ Herald.
‘Moronic. Loo paper is made locally, so it won’t run out.’
Items such as bread and milk also flew off the shelves in manic scenes.
At one supermarket in Manurewa in south Auckland, customers were seen fighting (pictured) over items, including toilet paper
Shoppers shared images of empty shelves (pictured) soon after the lockdown was announced in New Zealand
Soon after lockdown was announced, shoppers were out in force across New Zealand, with numerous instances of panic buying (pictured, shoppers lined up in Auckland)
Shoppers at a supermarket in Wellington (pictured) soon after the lockdown was announced
Disbelieving shoppers also posted videos and images on social media of empty supermarket shelves.
A single Delta strain infection in Auckland was confirmed on Tuesday, which then resulted in the detection of more community cases.
All the cases have stemmed from Auckland, are linked to patient zero and all four have the Delta strain, health officials confirmed.
One new case was a tradesman, 58, from Devonport, who is a colleague of patient zero, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said.
Another case is an infected nurse – who was fully vaccinated – who worked at Auckland Hospital in recent days, he added.
This resulted in an email being urgently sent to hospital staff expressing concerns about a potential outbreak.
The discovery of New Zealand’s very first instance of a Delta infection, and the first local Covid-19 case in six months, has also seen the reintroduction of level four restrictions.
Auckland is now locked down for the next week, with the rest of the country in lockdown for at least three days.
‘Going hard and early has worked for us before,’ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Tuesday.
‘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.’
Under the level four restrictions, all but essential workplaces must close and schools will pause face to face learning.
Businesses will be required to shut their doors unless they provide a critical service or care.
New Zealand has been plunged into lockdown after four confirmed cases of Covid overnight (pictured, a closed local shop in Auckland)
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is encouraging people to stay at home, with Auckland in a seven day lockdown (pictured, Covid testing in Auckland)
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that the Delta variant of Covid-19 is a ‘dangerous enemy to combat’
‘My very simple message is please stay at home,’ the Prime Minister said on Wednesday. ‘Stick to your bubble, stay home.’
The lockdown has also resulted in New Zealand’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout being suspended.
The PM confirmed vaccine centres should re-open by Friday.
Two dozen exposure sites have been identified, and health authorities say patient zero visited several homes in his duties as a tradesman.
He also went to a handful of Auckland pubs while unknowingly infectious.
Level 4 Covid alert restrictions are in place across Auckland in New Zealand (pictured, a lone runner along the Devonport waterfront)
New Zealand has been plunged into lockdown after four confirmed Covid cases (pictured, a bus driver in Auckland wearing a face mask)