Covid-19 coronavirus: New community case – Aucklanders rush to supermarkets, told no need to rush

Aucklanders are being urged to mask up if they are using public transport to get home tonight and to avoid panic buying at the supermarket.

Police will be increasing visibility at supermarkets as long queues form at checkouts. New World and Countdown’s online shopping websites appear to have crashed.

Motorways are already almost 50 per cent more congested than average, according to TomTom data.

One Covid-19 case has been detected in the Auckland community today, triggering a rush of people flocking to the supermarkets as panic buying kicks in again.

The All of Government response group is meeting this afternoon, and then Cabinet will meet. The Prime Minister is expected to front a press conference at 6pm.

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It is unclear if the positive case is linked the border or managed isolation.

“Anyone living in Auckland has to assume it will be the focus of investigation and control of this outbreak,” epidemiologist Michael Baker said.

Baker said it was important for people who might have recently received one or even two vaccine doses to be vigilant.

“They just need to behave as if they’re still vulnerable. The vaccine’s good. It’s not perfect.”

Auckland mayor Phil Goff is reminding residents to use social distancing, wear masks where this is not possible and wash their hands.

Supermarket shopping

Aucklanders are being urged not to panic buy groceries this afternoon, and are being reminded that supermarkets will remain open if there is a lockdown.

Long queues are already swamping checkouts and online shopping websites appear to be crashing. Home delivery time slots are booking out fast, with one person claiming the next available time to have their groceries delivered is Saturday.

Police said it will be increasing visibility at supermarkets to “provide both workers and the public with reassurance”.

Countdown spokeswoman Kiri Hannifin urges customers to “keep calm”.

“We’d ask customers to wear a mask when you’re shopping in our stores as an extra precaution, and use the contact tracing app as you come in.

“All of our stores are open and we will have physical distancing measures in place, as well as extra cleaning and hygiene practises.

“We’re seeing extra demand for online shopping and remind everyone that all our stores are open and there is plenty of food and other groceries so there’s no need to buy more than you need.”

Foodstuffs asks people to shop normally and be kind to staff.

One shopper in East Auckland said toilet rolls are selling out fast.

Another customer said the Three Kings Countdown is “hectic” and there are long queues and a full car park.

New World Birkenhead grocery manager Thilak said he has noticed an increase in customers in the past half hour. He said all the checkouts are open and there are long queues.

Thilak said there’s no need to panic as there’s lots of stock for everyone.

Public transport

Anyone in Auckland using public transport this afternoon, or who cannot socially distance in public spaces, is being advised to wear a mask as a precaution by the Ministry of Health.

Traffic is already building across the Supercity as people head home, and the bad weather hasn’t helped.

Auckland Transport is reporting delays across all motorways, with some routes already expected to take commuters twice as long.

Police remind motorists to drive to the conditions and to allow plenty of time to reach their destinations safely.

A crash is blocking part of State Highway 1 in Auckland’s CBD.

A live traffic index run by technology company TomTom says Auckland congestion is at 109 per cent, which is 46 per cent more than the average at this time.

It’s unclear whether that is related to the weather or the latest Covid-19 community case.

Electricity

Counties Energy is warning its customers in South Auckland and northern Waikato to prepare for “potential loss of power” between 5pm and 7.30pm tonight.

Transpower issued a Grid Emergency Notice this afternoon.

Transpower is warning there’s a risk of “insufficient energy offers in the North Island to meet demand plus instantaneous reserve requirements”.

“The level of instantaneous reserves being scheduled may or will be reduced,” it stated.

IMPORTANT!!! POTENTIAL POWER LOSS SOON!Hi all – we’ve just been issued a Grid Emergency Notice from Transpower that…

Public health

The Ministry of Health is reminding all New Zealanders of the basic public health measures of mask wearing, hand washing and using the Covid Tracer app.

The Prime Minister’s office has also urged people to follow the following public health guidelines:

Stay home if you are sick, call your doctor or Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice about getting tested.

Keep on scanning QR codes

Wear a face covering on public transport and when you can’t keep a two-metre distance from others.

Practice good hygiene – wash hands often.

Education

Auckland Primary Principals’ Association president Stephen Lethbridge said schools around the city would be looking at their Alert Level response plans to ensuring they were prepared as they waited for further news.

Just this morning schools across the country were reminded to be ready for things to change at short notice.

Secretary of Education Iona Holsted said although “we’re all still enjoying Alert Level 1 across the country”, it was concerning to see the Delta variant sweeping the globe.

Schools should check they were ready if things change, particularly if they were linked to a confirmed case, Holsted wrote.

They should check they had up-to-date contact information for all students, staff and parents. They could also be made to shut down for three days or longer with “little or no warning”, and should be ready for distance learning.

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