Late-night panic buying: Kiwis flock to supermarkets after COVID-19 restrictions announced

Kiwis are already flocking to supermarkets in a late-night rush after hearing COVID-19 alert level restrictions are being introduced.

On Tuesday night Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that there are four community cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand - all from the same family living in south Auckland.

Following this, Auckland will enter alert level 3 lockdown from midday Wednesday for three days. The rest of New Zealand will enter alert level 2 for the same time period. 

Shopper Brendan Lewis visited Countdown Mt Eden in Auckland, and told Newshub it was so busy there were no trolleys left.

"The supermarket's packed, queues right around the supermarket, people getting cartons of milk, and there's traffic piled, queued up down Dominion Rd."

Lewis says he'd planned to visit the supermarket before the lockdown announcement, but bought a few extra items as a precaution so he doesn't have to return over the coming days.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield advised New Zealanders not to flock to supermarkets to ensure there aren't food shortages.

Countdown Mt Eden.
Countdown Mt Eden. Photo credit: Supplied

Lewis says he'll be taking extra precautions during the latest level 3 lockdown, but advice around wearing masks has him personally concerned.

"I'm not sure how I'm supposed to get a mask now because I didn't get a mask last week."

He adds it's a "shock" the alert levels were reinstated so quickly.

"Everyone's got to take their computers back home if they're not able to work in the office, so coming in late at night makes it hard. You've got less than a day to prepare, but I suppose it's something we should've been prepared for to happen any time."

Countdown Mt Eden.
Countdown Mt Eden. Photo credit: Supplied

Ardern also advised all Aucklanders who visit essential services over the three-day lockdown to wear a mask. New Zealanders in the rest of the country should only wear a mask if they can't obey physical distancing rules.

Supermarkets across Auckland have queues snaking out the doors. Pictures posted to social media show shoppers hurried to buy any essentials, some less than an hour after restrictions were announced. 

Countdown Greenlane.
Countdown Greenlane. Photo credit: Supplied