Supermarket shelves cleaned out as New Zealand hits 20 COVID-19 cases

Countdown Grey Lynn's tinned good aisle.
Countdown Grey Lynn's tinned good aisle. Photo credit: Supplied

Supermarket shelves are being cleaned out by panic-buyers after the Ministry of Health announced New Zealand now has 20 confirmed cases of COVID-19 coronavirus.

Cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand jumped by eight on Wednesday, the largest increase so far, which has led to more panic-buying across the country.

Supermarkets in Huntly, Ashburton, Grey Lynn and Botany, Auckland are among the supermarkets which are now low on essential items as the public stocks up.

One person posted to Huntly's Community page on Facebook saying the local Countdown is looking very bare.

"All tin stuff gone, flour gone, noodles gone. Wipes gone, disinfect gone, milk powder gone. That was 1pm Wed. Restocking tonight."

She says it is mainly non-perishable food that has been sold out and there is still plenty of meat, vegetables and toilet paper in the store.

"Heaps toilet paper left lol. Funny thing is while you're eating all those baked beans you going to want to go to the toilet. But you forgot the toilet paper. Least you have clean hands."

Another also took to Facebook to post pictures of the Ashburton New World.

Sharing to the Methven Noticeboard, she wrote: "I've just ventured out to Ashburton New World, and really gutted to see the panic has now hit NZ and I can't get the baby formula I use or wipes etc that I need for my baby. I really hoped it wouldn't get to this here".

Her photos show the baking aisle empty. Some cleaning items are also sold out.

Another photo shows one lonely roll of paper towels in one aisle.

The woman she hadn't gone into the store to panic-buy but seeing the empty shelves made her uneasy about the supplies she had at home.

"I just went in to grab a few bits and bobs, and honestly being in the supermarket seeing the shelves made me panic, and I bought heaps of tins etc. 

"I put a couple in the donation box, but it's the most horrid feeling going shopping and seeing the shelves bare like that."

One commenter said stores in Balclutha, Otago have also been stripped. "It's really scary actually to see all the panic," she said.

The Facebook post on the Methven Noticeboard.
The Facebook post on the Methven Noticeboard. Photo credit: Facebook/ Katie Berry

Other posters say the same thing is happening in Rangiora, Hornby and Rolleston stores.

Countdown Grey Lynn is currently experiencing a shortage of tinned goods.

A Newshub staff member visited the store on Wednesday afternoon and found people definitely had a preference for unflavoured diced tomatoes. Italian and Mexican flavoured tomatoes were left untouched.

Organic options were also popular, she added.

Other Aucklanders have been stocking up on frozen items to get them through the pandemic period.

"All frozen veges gone at 1:30pm Pak n save botany [sic]," jskiwi posted in a Reddit thread called "Please calm the f*** down".