Coronavirus: Countdown introduces limits to stop panic buying

Author
RNZ,
Publish Date
Thu, 19 Mar 2020, 5:40PM

Coronavirus: Countdown introduces limits to stop panic buying

Author
RNZ,
Publish Date
Thu, 19 Mar 2020, 5:40PM

By RNZ

Countdown is introducing limits on some items to stop panic buying due to Covid-19.

The supermarket chain says it cannot get some items onto shelves quickly enough if people keep buying at the current rate. It says its supply chain is strong but it needs people to shop normally rather than stockpile.

It is putting limits of two items per customer on products such as packs of toilet rolls, hand sanitiser, personal wash, Panadol, wipes, pasta and rice.

Earlier, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told NZers not to panic buy or believe rumours circulating on social media about Covid-19, as the total number of confirmed cases rises to 28.

Addressing the media this afternoon, she said she cannot go around on social media and dismiss every rumour she sees.

Ardern is in Rotorua, where she is currently giving an update on the government's response to the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Ardern said she was aware there were a lot of rumours and misinformation circulating on social media, but authorities could be trusted to continue to share what they knew, as it happened.

"The last thing we want is for that anxiety to be based on misinformation."

She said New Zealanders needed to take social distancing "really seriously".

"We are in a very heightened state as a nation, and so is the world."

Ardern said each business had their own plan, and their own thinking about what they could do about keeping staff employed, and how they could support each other.

She said the government was looking at how they could support that.

If there were wider outbreaks, then the strategy around schools will be reassessed, Ardern said.

"Right now because of what we know about the way this transmits, we can make really sound evidence-based decisions but we have always been willing to change those decisions if we need to escalate."

Ardern said they would take deportation measures if people were not going by the rules put in place to self-isolate for international arrivals.

Ardern reiterated MFAT's message that asked New Zealanders to assess their situation and travel back while commercial options were open.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield confirmed today there were eight new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, bringing the total number to 28.

Countdown will limit to two the following items:

Hand sanitiser
Personal wash
Panadol/ paracetamol
Antibacterial wipes
Disinfectant and household cleaners
Toilet paper
Paper towels
Serviettes
Facial tissues
Pasta
Rice

- RNZ