Police are helping man a road block on the Coromandel today, originally set up by residents to keep fleeing Aucklanders at bay.

Tensions were high last night after Manaia residents set up their own road block after it was announced a Covid-19 positive Devonport man and his wife visited Coromandel town at the weekend.

Fortunately the 58-year-old was an avid contact tracer which had allowed health officials to reel off about a dozen places of interest visited by the couple.

However, the visit immediately sparked concern, with residents annoyed at the amount of Aucklanders – who own property on the peninsula – fleeing to the popular tourist spot.

Residents talked of “tempers escalating” as those wanting to get through were being forced to show some proof that they lived on the peninsula, sparking a police call out.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern this morning confirmed there were four new cases of Covid overnight, including a fully vaccinated Auckland Hospital nurse.

Others were a co-worker of the initial Devonport case and three close contacts of the co-worker.

The Devonport pair visited Star and Garter Bar in Coromandel township for an hour on Friday night, from 6.39pm to 7.40pm, and again from 7.11pm to 9pm on Saturday night, while the All Blacks-Australia test was playing on television.

A Manaia resident told the Herald this morning the road is still blocked at the bridge.

She was also at the roadblock, together with other residents and police, and said there had been “no drama”.

“I guess posting it on our local roads page has gotten the message across and people have been very co-operative.”

Police have been contacted for comment.

Other places of interest in the Coromandel include Umu Cafe, BP petrol station, Driving Creek Railway Tours, Jaks Cafe & Bar, Hereford ‘n’ a Pickle, Taras Beads,Richardsons Real Estate and Thames’ Woodturner Cafe.

The owner of the Star and Garter Hotel, Michael Huitema, said he received a call from the Ministry of Health at about 2pm to inform him about the Covid case. Huitema, who has been holidaying in the South Island with his wife Karen for the past eight days, said he had spent the last few hours trying to organising the 24 staff who work at the gastro pub and restaurant.

Owner of Umu Cafe Coromandel Josephine Fraser says she received a call from the Health Ministry at about 5 o’clock saying they had been identified as a location of interest.

She said it was a shock but they will “get on and get it sorted”.

All cafe staff will have to get tested and self-isolate, she said, rushing to empty out the cafe kitchen when the Herald called.

Karam Singh, the manager of the affected BP, said the staff member working at the time was organising to get tested.

“I think he was just covering for someone on that day – he normally doesn’t work. He was just covering,” Singh told the Herald yesterday.


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