As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 alert level 2 in Wellington

The Wellington region is breathing a small sigh of relief after no new cases of COVID-19 were recorded on Thursday - following a mammoth testing effort on Wednesday.

Thursday marks the first full day under COVID-19 alert level 2 conditions, and hundreds of people have flocked to testing sites across the region as experts warn the situation could lead to a "serious outbreak".

More than 7000 people were tested for the virus on Wednesday and Thursday morning - five times the amount of tests from the previous day.

Several pop-up testing sites have opened across the region to cope with the influx of demand and Minister for the COVID-19 response Chris Hipkins says the massive spike in testing is "to be expected"

The alert level 2 restrictions will remain in place until Sunday at 11.59pm at least.

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What you need to know:

Locations of interest

Qantas Flight QF163 Sydney to Wellington, Rydges Hotel, Unichem Wellington Central Pharmacy, Te Papa Tongarewa - general, Te Papa Tongarewa - Exhibition Surrealist Art: Masterpieces from Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Jack Hackett's Bar, Floridita's Restaurant, Highwater Eatery, Pickle & Pie café, The Weta Cave shop, The Lido café, Unity Books, Countdown Cable Lane, One Red Dog, the toilets at 4 Kings Bar, Prince Barbers and Wellington Airport.

More information about times and dates can be found here.

This article is no longer being updated.

9pm - To summarise the latest on the COVID-19 situation in Wellington:

There were no new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, but officials warned the capital isn't out of the woods yet - with thousands of tests still to be processed.

Meanwhile, the Cook Islands' Government is asking aynone who may have come into contact with the Wellington COVID-19 case not to fly to Rarotonga.

Rarotonga is closing its borders to people who visited Wellington's locations of interest at the weekend. Anyone who has already flown over is being tested for COVID-19.

Quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and New South Wales has also been suspended for another 12 days, as the Sydney COVID-19 outbreak continues to grow.

We'll bring you the latest on The AM Show from 6am on Friday and at

8:43pm - Earlier on Thursday, Finance Minister Grant Robertson said being in COVID-19 alert level 2 any longer tha Sunday could strip $2 million from New Zealand's economy.

"The model that Treasury use says that if alert level 2 was in place in Wellington for a week, for seven days, then that would have around about a $10 million effect on the economy," he told RNZ's First Up.

"For individual businesses, particularly hospitality businesses, it's hugely frustrating.

"The good news of course is that we are at level 2, not a higher alert level."

8:26pm - The Australian state of Victoria has recorded a second community case of COVID-19 linked to the Sydney outbreak.

8:18pm - Epidemiologist Michael Baker is warning that Wellington is far from out of the woods - because people could still be incubating COVID-19.

"We do need to know the results of testing over the next few days," he told Newshub.

8:02pm - In confirming the quarantine-free travel pause between New Zealand and New South Wales would be extended for another 12 days, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said while it's inconvenient - the Government believes a cautious approach is needed.

"This decision follows a further public health assessment today in which officials consider a range of factors - whether any new cases are identified, the results from COVID-19 testing of any contacts identified and from the wider Sydney community."

7:55pm - Panic buying has started to hit Sydney amid its COVID-19 outbreak.

7:45pm - Earlier, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said while there were no new community cases on Thursday - it was still early days.

"It doesn't tell us a lot at this point," he told reporters.

7:25pm - The Government is reassuring it's up to date with the COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern earlier told reporters health officials are across what's happening.

"We are involved in their [NSW Government] calls." 

7:06pm - The Cook Islands' Government is asking any Wellington residents who were at locations of interest not to travel to Rarotonga.

"Other travellers from the Wellington region who have not visited a place of interest, may enter Rarotonga as usual," Cook Islands Tourism Corporation Australasia general manager Graeme West says.

"As is the case for all travellers into the Cook Islands, everyone must complete the Cook Islands' online travel declaration no more than 24 hours before their departure from Auckland."

7:01pm - The pause on quarantine-free travel between New South Wales and New Zealand, due to lift on Thursday, will continue for a further 12 days, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says. 

"New Zealand public health staff remain in close contact with New South Wales authorities about the actions being taken in Sydney, and will review the decision to continue the pause late next week.

"The Government strongly believes a cautious approach is the best course of action while these investigations continue."

6:28pm - Call centre Healthline on Wednesday recorded its fourth busiest day on record.

But Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield says phone lines are being clogged up for the wrong reasons.

"The most common things people are asking is information about locations of interest and, 'what does alert level 2 mean?'" 

6:14pm - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is confident the Government is making the right moves in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney.

New South Wales has a COVID-19 cluster of 36 community cases in the Sydney suburb of Bondi.

Ardern says New Zealand health officials are up to date with developments.

"We very quickly shut the border," she told reporters. 

6:10pm - Thirteen passengers were pulled off a flight from Wellington to the Cook Islands on Thursday.

The decision was made by the Cook Islands' health ministry, which is worried about the risk of COVID-19 from New Zealand's capital.

But the ministry says those passengers have now been booked on Friday's flight to Rarotonga, as they've not been at any locations of interest.

6pm - Epidemiologist Michael Baker is describing Wellington's COVID-19 situation as being on a knife edge.

Baker says he's worried the Sydney traveller has the Delta COVID-19 variant.

"They've been in Wellington for a weekend - they've gone to lots of place, indoor venues on a wet weekend where people were huddled indoors," he told Newshub. "This is still a very high-risk situation."

5:35pm - At the earlier press conference, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said officials were acting as if the infected Sydney traveller has the Delta variant - despite officials still waiting for genome sequencing results.

"We are working on the basis it is likely to be the Delta variant.

"The advice from Australia is that it is linked to their outbreak at the moment, which is the Delta variant."

5:25pm - Testing stations are busy trying to work through hundreds of people needing a COVID-19 swab.

One Wellington resident told Newshub they were unimpressed with the system.

"It's actually been really terrible to be honest - it's just inconsistent and if you call Healthline - they're basically just reading what's on the website."

5:15pm - COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins is confident New Zealand's contact tracers have found all locations of interest.

He says it's unlikely more locations will be added to the list.

"If anything further comes to light then, of course, we will notify of that.

"Sometimes people remember additional things that they might have forgotten earlier.

"Based on what we know now, the list that's out there is the full list."

5pm - Despite no new community cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, epidemiologist Michael Baker says we're still on a "knife edge".

"We do need to know the results of testing over the next few days," Prof Baker told Newshub. "We've had a big potential exposure situation." 

4.34pm - The Government is staunchly defending its COVID-19 response as the Opposition launches criticism.

The Government came under fire on Wednesday for informing the public about locations of interest the infected Sydney traveller visited, at around the same time Wellingtonians were leaving to go to work. 

"What is very clear is that the locations of interest in Wellington were not available to people until after they got to work in Wellington this morning and they should have been available significantly earlier," said National leader Judith Collins. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Thursday she was pleased with the Ministry of Health's communication so far, describing it as "very, very clear". 

"Yes, absolutely," Ardern told reporters, when asked if she was satisfied with the Ministry of Health's communication. 

Read more here.

4.31pm - A Wellington community group which helps the most vulnerable says it has seen a massive increase in demand since the region switched alert levels on Wednesday.

Kahungunu ki Pōneke Community Services has had teams checking in on those in emergency housing, where they were also handing out hygiene packs.

Chief executive Ali Hamlin-Paenga said the city's poorest were also the most vulnerable to an outbreak of COVID-19.

Read more here.

3.44pm - 13 passengers were removed from a flight to Rarotonga on Thursday morning by the Cook Islands Health Ministry.

The Ministry said in a statement to Stuff it wanted to give itself more time to assess the developing COVID-19 situation in the New Zealand capital.

Tepaeru Herrmann, chair of the Cook Islands Border Easement Taskforce, said the decision to remove the 13 passengers was “a testament to our systems and processes doing what they have been designed to do in providing additional layers of protection to the Cook Islands”.

He added the situation in Wellington is "evolving".

In a press conference on Thursday afternoon New Zealand Minister for the COVID-19 response Chris Hipkins said the Cook Islands travel bubble was still open. 

3.37pm - A man in Melbourne has tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a dinner party in Sydney.

7 News reports the man flew back into Melbourne on Sunday evening and started showing symptoms on Tuesday morning.

Health Minister Martin Foley said there will be a number of new exposure sites and they will include public transport.

2.32pm - New South Wales' health minister Brad Hazzard has tested negative for COVID-19 after being advised to isolate following a brush with a confirmed case in NSW Parliament.

1.41pm - Bloomfield is pleading for people who are asymptomatic, and have not been in a location of interest to leave theCOVID-19 tests for those who need it.

He says it's crucial over the next 48 hours that people who need tests the most are the ones who get them. 

1.37pm - Vaccine supplies will dip "close to zero" before new stocks arrive, leading to "some sleepless nights" for Hipkins, who will be hoping all deliveries arrive exactly when they are supposed to. 

1.34pm - The healthcare facility where the Sydney case worked was not a location of interest and the person who was likely the epidemiological link who visited the facility had not yet been diagnosed - so there was no reason the Sydney case should not have traveled, says Blomfield.

The Sydney case did not develop symptoms of COVID-19 until 3am on Monday. 

1.30pm - Anyone who came from Sydney to New Zealand must isolate and get tested for COVID-19. They must remain in isolation until that test returns negative.

Cabinet is unlikely to lift the pause on quarantine free travel between New South Wales and New Zealand. 

1.25pm - Bloomfield has cleared up the confusion around the amount of time the Sydney case spent at locations of interest. Earlier on Thursday one of the locations, a barber shop, said the man was only present for half an hour rather than the four hours recorded by the Ministry of Health.

Bloomfield says thinking about the "airborne nature" of the virus, and "residual risk" it is wise to extend the times of locations of interest to make sure people are aware they could have been exposed. 

1.24pm - There is no chance Wellington will be lifted out of alert level 2 before Sunday night - the only change would be a lift in alert levels, if the situation necessitated it, says Hipkins. 

1.22pm - The delay in getting results from the genomic sequencing of the Sydney case is being attributed to a delay on Australia's side.

New Zealand has been assured the results will be passed on as soon as they're available. 

1.20pm - The current list of locations on the Ministry of Health website is the full list of known locations - there are no further locations expected to be revealed.

View the list of locations here.

1.17pm - Wastewater testing from Wellington on Monday has returned negative.

Cabinet will meet on Sunday to review the alert levels. 

 1.14pm - Jack Hacketts Irish Pub and Four Kings Bar share the same QR code - and are both considered locations of interest. There is a legal requirement for those who were in either pub to follow public health advice.

"This is not optional - it's enforceable," says Hipkins. 

1.12pm - Thursday marks five days since the infected man visited Wellington and Bloomfield says the test results received on Thursday and Friday will inform officials on how the situation is developing. 

1.10pm - Hipkins says he will not make any further decision on changing alert levels until Sunday - unless there is a drastic change.

Blomfield says there are also no new cases in managed isolation or quarantine. 

1.07pm - Sydney has recorded a further 11 cases of COVID-19 in the community. 

1.06pm - The Government is still waiting on the results of genomic testing which will reveal whether the man from Sydney has contracted the Delta variant. The man's partner is asymptomatic and has returned a negative result.

1.05pm - Hipkins says they expect high demand for testing to continue on Thursday, and wait times at pop up clinics are around 10 to 15 minutes. The expectation is that thousands of tests will be completed on Thursday, and thousands more again on Friday.

Hipkins says this influx is a good thing - and is to be expected. 

1.03pm - There have been no new cases of COVID-19 in the community overnight, says Chris Hipkins. Almost 7000 tests were completed yesterday - five times more than the day prior. 

1.01pm - 7000 tests have been done overnight and "nothing alarming" has come through so far, according to Newshub reporter Jenna Lynch.

1pm - Tune in as Dr Ashley Blomfield and Chris Hipkins provide Thursday's COVID-19 update.

The pair are speaking to reporters from the Beehive Theatrette in Wellington.

Watch the livestream above.

12.43pm - Queensland has recorded three new local cases of COVID-19 overnight. All three are linked to a flight attendant who ate at a Portuguese restaurant on Sunday.

12.35pm- Wellingtonians are feeling the anxiety of level 2 ahead of a 1pm COVID-19 update from Dr Ashley Blomfield and Chris Hipkins.

A hospitality boss said Wellington operators are deflated over the rise in alert levels and the impact on a still-recovering industry.

Hospitality New Zealand president Jeremy Smith owns three Wellington bars and the Trinity Hotel.

"The uncertainty is playing on our minds because we just don't know what to expect," he told Morning Report.

Read more about how life has been disrupted in the capital here.

There are hopes that uncertainty will be lifted come 1pm, when Bloomfield and Hipkins wil update on any new COVID-19 cases following a massive influx of testing.

Newshub will have all the action live on TV3 and

12.30pm - An additional COVID-19 testing centre has been set up in Mount Maunganui.

The pop-up testing site is at Baypark Stadium, 81 Truman Lane and will be open from 9am to 5pm on Thursday and Friday.

No booking is required but it's likely there will be a wait. 

Bay of Plenty DHB COVID-19 Incident Controller Trevor Richardson says the pop-up clinic will prioritise people who were at a location of interest in Wellington over the weekend and those with symptoms.

"If you do not have symptoms, you’re unlikely to need a test. It is critically important we are testing those who are most at risk from COVID-19 first."

More information on other testing locations in the Bay of Plenty can be found here.

12.03pm - Wellington City Council is reminding people that some of its services will operate differently under alert level 2.

In a post on Twitter a council spokesperson urged people to keep using the COVID-19 tracer app, and keep up their hand washing. 

At alert level 2 council swimming pools and recreation centres are open, with social distancing in place.

Rubbish and recycling will still be taken in roadside collections and all libraries will be open too. 

11.41am - The Hataitai testing station is experiencing high demand with many of those lining up finding the process difficult.

Several people told Newshub it's been hard to figure out what they need to do, and some say they waited on hold with Healthline for more than an hour, before being told to call the testing centre itself - and being put on hold again.

Newshub reporter Alexa Cook says despite the confusion, the testing centre is a lot calmer on Thursday than the previous day.

"It's a much more organised scene here - completely different to the chaos at the Taranaki St testing centre on Wednesday where there were traffic jams, road rage and people packed onto the footpaths."

On Wednesday 2100 Wellingtonians were tested - but given the number of locations visited by the infected person, that number will likely skyrocket over the next few days.

11.06am - The Ministry of Health is reminding people in Wellington they do not need to be tested unless they were in a location of interest, or have symptoms. 

"It is critically important we are testing those who are most at risk from COVID-19 first," the Ministry said in a statement.

Anyone who was at a location of interest or is symptomatic should ring Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice on testing and how to book a test.

People are asked to book in advance for a test by calling Healthline - but wait times of around 20 minutes should be expected due to the spike in demand. 

11.03am - Several new testing sites have opened in Wellington to cope with a massive increase in demand for COVID-19 tests.

The sites and their hours of operation are below. 

·    Wellington Central, 196-200 Taranaki Street. Open until 6pm and will reopen at 8am tomorrow.

·    Haitaitai Park, Ruahine Street. Open until 9pm and will reopen at 10am tomorrow.

·    Wellington Regional Hospital, carpark by Te Hopai, off Mein Street. Open 1pm – 6pm and will reopen at 8am tomorrow.

·    Porirua, 178 Bedford Street. Open until 9pm tonight and reopen at 8am tomorrow.

·    Johnsonville, 24 Moorefield Road. Open until 4.30pm and will reopen at 9.30am tomorrow.

·    Upper Hutt, Heretaunga Christian Centre, 51 Lane Street. Open until 4.30pm.

·    Lower Hutt, 729 High Street. Open until 4pm and will reopen at 9am tomorrow.

·    Kapiti, Coastlands Shoppingtown. Open 1pm – 5pm and will reopen at 12.30pm tomorrow.

·    Karori, 11 Parkvale Road. Open 1pm – 5pm and will reopen at 1pm tomorrow.

·    Wairarapa, located at various medical centres. Open standard business hours, and after-hour testing is provided at Masterton Medical Centre, 4 Colombo Road.

10.54am - The pop-up COVID-19 testing station in Hataitai is still full of Wellingtonians waiting for a test. 

Newshub spoke to some of those in line, who say they spent up to an hour waiting for Healthline to answer their calls.

Nurses on site say it's much preferred that those who want a test book an appointment through Healthline, rather than just turning up.

Information on more pop-up testing sites is expected from the Ministry of Health shortly. 

10.44am - The staff members from Prince Barbers, where the infected traveller reportedly spent four hours on Saturday, say they don't remember what he looked like - nor how many people were in the store at the time.

The manager told Newshub the staff member who cut the man's hair is isolating at home - but it would be helpful to have the traveller's name, or a picture of him so they can try and remember how many other people were in the store at the time.

They say he was only in the barber for about half an hour - not four hours as the Ministry of Health has outlined. 

10.31am - New South Wales Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall has tested positive for COVID-19. He says he "no doubt" caught the virus from a pizza place he went to on Monday.

Marshall attended Christo’s Pizza in Paddington on Monday night with three other MPs. A positive case from the Bondi cluster also attended, unaware they had the virus

His positive test follows NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard being forced to isolate after being informed he is a close contact of a potential COVID-19 case who works in NSW's Parliament.

10:00am - Queues have started to form at the testing station at Hataitai in Wellington. Testing stations are expecting another busy day. 

As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 alert level 2 in Wellington
Photo credit: Alexa Cook
As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 alert level 2 in Wellington
Photo credit: Alexa Cook
As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 alert level 2 in Wellington
Photo credit: Alexa Cook

- Hipkins has also defended the COVID-19 vaccine roll out in New Zealand, telling the AM Show the vaccine is "worth waiting for", amid criticism our rollout is lagging behind that of other developed nations. Read the story here

9:45am - COVID Response Minister Chris Hipkins has defended not telling the country about the potential COVID-19 outbreak in Wellington on Tuesday night, saying there was little information and few people would have been up to hear about it anyway. Read the full story here.

09:30am - Opera New Zealand has cancelled The Marriage of Figaro, which was due to run in Wellington between June 8 and July 13. 

A spokesperson told RNZ it was very "disappointing for the cast and everyone involved in the production."

The spokesperson said ticketholders would be contacted directly.

9:27am - Libraries in Wellington temporarily closed their doors last night to prepare for level 2, they have also cancelled any in-person events or programmes. 

9am - 
COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins and Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield will today provide an update on COVID-19 at 1pm.

8:40am - Professor of medicine Des Gorman is questioning if New Zealand's quarantine-free travel bubble with Australia is even worth it following the latest community case.

He told The AM Show the risk is too great.

"The question each day is not, 'is there a reason to close the bubble down?' The question each day is, 'are there reasons to keep the bubble open?' We've got our risk appetite back to front." 

Read the full story here.

8:20am - Hipkins told MoreFM on Thursday he is pleading with employers to let staff "do the right thing".

"Let them stay home if they are unwell, let them stay home if they are awaiting a test result. Ultimately making sure our testing and contact tracing system works is the way we avoid higher level lockdowns and we are more likely to keep the freedom that we've got."

8:02am - Testing stations

There are a number of testing stations set up around the Wellington region on Thursday as locals flock to get tested. More are expected to be set up throughout the day but here's the ones so far:

A pop-up station in Hataitai Park on Ruahine Street.

Open times: 

  • Thursday from 10am to 6pm
  • Friday 25 June 10am to 6pm

Wellington Central - 196-200 Taranaki Street (is fully booked for Thursday)

Open times: 

  • 10am - 4 pm 7 days.

Porirua- 178 Bedford Street

Open times: 

  • Weekdays 9am-4pm
  • Saturday and Sunday 10am -3pm 

Paraparaumu- Coastlands Shoppingtown, State Highway 1

Open times: 

  • Monday - Saturday 1:00pm – 3:00pm 

7:45am - At least one Wellington community testing centre is fully booked as thousands rush to get tested.

City GP's practice manager Lorraine Wood said following the announcement the phones were wild, and staff were struggling to clear the messages.

"We are certainly being stretched," she said.

"It's busy, our phone queues and our messages are just going pages and pages down, if you scroll it just keeps going, so to be honest, I couldn't give you a number.

"My admin staff have just come to me and said 'we've still got so many phone messages to answer', and normally we'd have cleared them and be winding up for the day."

She said people are worried.

Some casual contacts told RNZ they were waiting on hold for more than 90 minutes to get an appointment, while others could not even get through to Healthline.

Dr Jeff Lowe from the Karori Medical Centre said normally the practice did about six swabs a day, but by early afternoon they had done 66 and were booking appointments two minutes apart for Thursday and Friday.

"It's been a 10 fold increase in the number of swabs, and that's quite appropriate because that is what the public have been advised to do.

"So clearly that presents issues around how we increase our surge capacity and meet that demand. We've been through this before and we know how to swab we just need to stand up our systems again."

RNZ/ Newshub

7:30am - Hipkins confirmed he knew about the case at around 8:45pm on Tuesday when contact tracing teams were "kicking into gear".

He defended not holding a late night press conference to ensure Kiwis knew about it.

"The reality is with a case that you get notified of at 8:45,  I don't think we have even held a press conference after midnight to reveal the details of that. It takes a bit of time to get the information together. There are two things at play here, some of the people you are trying to contact [members of the public] will be asleep and won't be answering their phones. We also have to deal with the trans-tasman gap."

He said if they held a press conference on Tuesday night, most of the answers to questions would be "I don't know".

7:25am - He said the demand for testing has been huge so the ministry is working to set up more stations around Wellington.

"There will be more testing stations set up today, it takes us a little bit of time to rally the staff. You have obviously got to pull people off their other duties in order to be able to do that. We don't have people standing around in case we have extra testing capability. There is work to roster people on."

He did not confirm how many new testing centres are being set up.

7:22am - Hipkins said it is "still too early to tell" if COVID-19 has spread throughout the community.

"That's why we have these alert level restrictions in place in the Wellington region. The fact that there were some locations of interest where there were quite high densities of people for quite a long period of time does increase the risk and that is why we have done this extra precautionary measure."

He said even if there emerges more positive cases, as long as they are isolating at home, it is potentially still manageable.

"At this point it is still very early days."

7:16am - Chris Hipkins says no extra COVID-19 test results have come in overnight but the results from people who get tested on Wednesday will start to come in throughout Thursday. 

The Ministry of Health is also still waiting on the genome sequencing results from Australia.

"At this point the advice from Australian authorities is that they are treating it as the Delta variant and as a linked case to the current cluster that they are dealing with, but we don't have any confirmation of that at this point."

7:05am - COVID-19 Health Minister Chris Hipkins is expected to appear on The AM Show at 7:10am to provide an update on New Zealand's COVID-19 situation.

Watch the interview here.

7:00am - University of Auckland medical professor Des Gorman told The AM Show he believed that New Zealand's response to the latest community case of COVID-19 wasn't quick enough.

"Yesterday all of those people went to work in Wellnigton who shouldn't have gone to work - they should have been forewarned the previous evening."

Australian authorities revealed late on Tuesday night that a COVID-19 case flew to Wellington from Sydney on Friday and then returned to New South Wales on Monday, when they tested positive for the infectious virus.

While New Zealand officials became aware of the case before 8pm on Tuesday night, it wasn't until just before 6:15am on Wednesday that the Ministry of Health confirmed the case had visited Wellington.

Gorman said there was "absolutely" time to alert New Zealand. 

"The argument was - there is a process we have to follow and we have to assess the risk and so on. I don't accept that, just put the names out there and if you have to correct them, so be it." 

6:50am - Countdown’s general manager safety Kiri Hannifin said the company was advised "late" on Wednesday morning the Australian traveller had visited Countdown Cable Lane while in Wellington.

The person had been in the store between 6pm to 7:15pm on June 20, making it a location of interest.

People who were there during this time are advised to stay home, get a COVID-19 test around day 5 after the exposure and stay at home until a negative test result is received.

Hannifin said Countdown took the precaution to close the store on Wednesday afternoon for a deep clean and team members who worked the Sunday evening shift were told to not to come to work, to stay home, self-isolate and get tested as directed by the Ministry of Health. 

"It's obviously unsettling news and as always, we strongly encourage all customers to use the COVID Tracer app when visiting our stores and to stay home if they're feeling unwell," she said.

"Our Wellington stores have been busy [on Wednesday] and we want to reiterate to all Wellingtontonians, and indeed all New Zealanders, that there is no need to buy more than you need.  All our stores will be open throughout every alert level, we have plenty of stock, and there is no chance of running out.  We know alert level changes are disruptive and we ask people to be kind and respectful in our stores,  to our store teams and to each other."