Toilet paper panic hits New Zealand as Auckland is forced into three-day lockdown
The great toilet paper panic of 2020 is back in Auckland as the city is plunged into a lockdown and desperate shoppers hit the shelves.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern urged New Zealanders to “stay home” after announcing Auckland would move to COVID-19 alert level 3 from 11.59pm tonight for three days after a family-of-three tested positive to the virus.
The rest of New Zealand will be at level 2 and the alert levels would be reviewed in 24 hours, Ms Ardern said.
She confirmed supermarkets and petrol stations will remain open so there was “no need to rush out to get any essential items,” the PM said.
Yet despite the calls, less than one hour after the lockdown announcement, queues began to form at numerous Auckland supermarkets last night.
After forcing its largest city into a three-day lockdown and addressing the media, the immaculately presented Ms Ardern appeared on Facebook with a message to residents from what appeared to be a chauffer-driven car.
She shared the “good news” that New Zealand was expecting the first arrival of the coronavirus vaccine from next week and vaccination of frontline workers and managed isolation workers from Saturday, February 20.
“Which is fantastic news,” she told her Facebook followers in the live video.
According to the New Zealand Herald, a mother, father and daughter from Papatoetoe, one of the larger suburbs of Auckland, tested positive.
The source of the initial case – believed to be the mother – is still unknown.
In a Facebook message posted after the announcement, Ms Ardern said it was a “big change in circumstance” for the country as a result of the news and urged people to get tested.
“We’re in a position at the moment where we haven’t quite identified whether, A) whether or not the household cases that we picked up, whether or not there are any beyond that.
“Secondly, of course, if there are cases beyond that whether or not those and any individuals have travelled.
Ms Ardern said over the infectious time frame, a lot of people had been “moving around” due to long weekends in the country.
“It’s essentially us trying to just make sure that we are taking a precautionary approach given how much travel there has been over this period and given we quite haven’t put a ring around this case just yet”.