52 days ago

Covid-19: Why are people being stopped on the way in to Auckland? Hours-long delays into the night

Caryn Wilkinson Reporter from Community News

Auckland reporters:

People should be able to freely enter Auckland under alert level 3 lockdown, instead of waiting up to six hours just to get home, ACT leader David Seymour says.

Some people have had to be rescued from the long queues in the heat by ambulance, Seymour said. People have been toileting on the side of the road.

Police checkpoints returned to the borders when the region plunged back to level 3 at 6am on Sunday as authorities try to trace the origin of infection for the latest community case.

Seymour said it does not make sense to have restrictions for people coming from a lower-risk area and entering Auckland.

“If the Government believes there’s a risk of people outside of Auckland bringing Covid into Auckland, then they would have to put the rest of the country into a higher alert level.”

Seymour said he had been contacted by numerous people on Sunday complaining about the wait and the distress it caused, with some waiting up to six hours, 45 minutes.

There should be strict control of people leaving Auckland, but there was no need to have the same control on people entering, especially after Aucklanders had been away for a busy weekend, he said.

“Covid is bad and we need to maintain eradication but kids and elderly people stuck in hot cars can lead to serious problems too.”

Aucklander Fernanda Leone said it took her five-and-a-half hours to go through the check point at State Highway 1 at Mercer, after leaving Hamilton at midday on Sunday.

The trip usually take 90 minutes and, before she left, Google Maps said the trip would take two hours, 20 minutes.

“There are lots of cars with people with kids and animals in it, and I’m pretty sure – just like us – they didn’t know it would take this long so didn't come prepared.”

Leone had been in Hamilton for the Six60 concert and is travelling to her home in West Auckland.

Another Aucklander said she was in Hastings for the Good Vibes Summer Festival.

After 90 minutes at a standstill, she was unsure how much longer it will be until she reached the checkpoint.

“We're watching people going to the toilet on the side of the road. It’s really hot and people have kids and animals – they look really bothered.”

At Auckland's northern border, the wait is about two hours heading into Auckland, with no queue into Northland.

Were you stuck in traffic queues driving back to Auckland?

If so, how long did you have to queue?

How long did your trip back home take you?

What was it like being stuck in your car?

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