12 Aug 2020

Aucklanders prepare for return to Covid-19 alert level 3 at noon

9:22 am on 12 August 2020

Aucklanders are preparing to go into level three lockdown at noon today after four members of one family tested positive for Covid-19.

Auckland Region map based on Wellsford to Pukekohe borders

Photo: RNZ / Vinay Ranchhod

The rest of the country will move into level 2. The cases end a stretch of 102 days without community transmission.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield delivered the news at a media conference called at Parliament last night.

RNZ spoke to a number of people in Auckland Central shortly after the announcement.

One woman said she was shocked by the news.

"How? How did even happen? Who gave it to them? What else do we need to prepare for? Is it just a lockdown that's going to help us or do we need more?

"I feel real anxious. During the first lockdown, me and partner were living with my mother in law, so we felt kind of safe. Whereas now, we've got our own place in the city at the heart of Auckland. Everyone touches everything, spits everywhere."

Under level 3, Aucklanders must work from home unless they are essential workers, and stay in their bubbles.

Bars and restaurants will have to close, and restrictions come in place for funerals and weddings.

Another Aucklander supported the move.

"I think it's the right move to make this decision, the right moment. Otherwise, let's say it increases then things may get out of hand. After the third day, we may know if we have it under control ... so I think it's better that way."

One man said he was worried but he was happy to go back to level three.

"For me, it's fine, because I shouldn't be selfish ... it's for everyone's safety so I'm fine with it. I'm worried about another outbreak but all we need to do is follow rules to be safe."

Another said we should be at level three for longer than three days.

"I think a three-day lockdown is kind of absurd, if you're going to do it you should do it for at least a week or so to see where it's reached, who they've been in contact with to be able to do due diligence.

"I'm pretty healthy person myself so personally I'm not too concerned if I catch it or not, I think I'll be okay. But I'm just finishing up my working holiday visa so no matter where I go after this, it's way worse off."

The announcement prompted a rush of late night shoppers to multiple Auckland supermarkets.

A queue of at least 200 people was around the Countdown on Quay street before it closed.

One shopper was grateful to have been one of the last to be able to get into the shop after a 45-minute wait in line.

"I happened to run out of my groceries today, I should have come here this afternoon but it was raining to so I postponed it."

The lockdown restrictions for all of the country are currently planned to last from noon today until midnight Friday.

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