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Alert level 4: Lockdown returns

Long queues quickly formed at supermarkets. PHOTOS/JOHN LAZO-RON
Panic buying at supermarkets

JOHN LAZO-RON and TOM TAYLOR
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Scenes of panic buying hit Wairarapa supermarkets on Tuesday night just minutes after it was announced the entire country would move into level 4 lockdown after a confirmed covid-19 case.

The lockdown took effect from 11.59pm Tuesday night after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield confirmed a man from Devonport in Auckland tested positive after visiting his GP.

Long queues started forming at supermarkets by 6.45pm.

By 7pm the Pak’n Save carpark was completely full, while Countdown and New World carparks had also started to fill up.

Some shoppers got caught up in the rush as they arrived to do their normal weekly shopping.

“It’s actually quite upsetting really,” one shopper said. “All I need to buy is some kindling.”

Another shopper said she couldn’t believe how long the lines were so quickly after the announcement.

“It’s just crazy.”

Staff members seemed baffled people had not learnt from previous lockdowns saying there was no need to panic buy.

“I don’t know why people are doing this. Haven’t they learnt the lessons from last time we were in lockdown. There’s plenty to go around.”

Other customers were more light-hearted about the sudden and large crowds:

“People have to get their toilet paper, I guess.”

Across the road from Pak’n Save, Liquorland also had a steady stream of customers stocking up on alcohol.

Services including supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics and petrol stations would stay open at alert level 4.

Wairarapa is under level 4 lockdown for at least three days before alert level settings are reviewed.

Auckland and Coromandel are in level 4 lockdown for at least seven days.

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