About 300 people at a Queenstown supermarket are being swabbed for sentinel testing to examine whether there has been community transmission in the resort town or not.

Ministry of Health director of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield confirmed at the daily Covid-19 update today that the testing in Queenstown was under way.

Unsuspecting shoppers heading to Queenstown's Pak 'n' Save today have been recruited for random Covid-19 swabs to help the Government decide whether to lift lockdown.

WellSouth chief executive Andrew Swanson-Dobbs, who is co-ordinating the pop-up testing site, said it had been established to test 300 random members of the public.

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It opened around 10.30am and healthcare staff in protective equipment had taken more than 60 swabs by midday, from people who agreed to take part.

About 300 people are expected to be swabbed in the testing. Photo / Matthew Mckew
About 300 people are expected to be swabbed in the testing. Photo / Matthew Mckew
Cars line up to get into the Pak 'n' Save at Queenstown. Photo / Matthew Mckew
Cars line up to get into the Pak 'n' Save at Queenstown. Photo / Matthew Mckew

He said it was important to find out if Queenstown really was a "hotbed" for the virus.

Southern District Health Board medical officer of health Dr Susan Jack said it would "help us understand the potential impact of relaxing restrictions".

"For statistical reasons it is important this community testing is random, so we are not encouraging people to come down."

Those with symptoms are urged to contact their GP or Healthline, not use the pop-up site.

A swab site for those with symptoms has been set up at Queenstown Memorial Centre.

The testing comes after Dr Bloomfield said at a press conference on Sunday that a confirmed case of Covid-19 in Flaxmere, near Hastings, was contracted in Queenstown.