Well, here we go again, another nationwide lockdown in New Zealand. The difference this time is that it only took one confirmed case in Auckland. But instead of a regional lockdown she has imposed a total lockdown on the whole country, including places where there has never been a single case of Covid 19. Apparently the Delta variant changes the response required.
I was going to write this just after she announced, but I’m glad I didn’t. The initial justification was that the confirmed Covid case was a ‘mystery’, and not directly linked to the border control facilities. Since the middle-aged man had also travelled outside of Auckland this was enough to impose a lockdown for the rest of the country. So we got the same old cliches about ‘going hard’ and early, and an abundance of caution. But she has changed the rules: when the Australian tourist in Wellington had the Delta variant there was no lockdown at all. Now we have the pre-emptive lockdown; when there are no cases found it will be wound back.
Overnight it now seems that there were more cases, and one is a nurse from Auckland hospital. This must mean that a Covid case that was transferred from ‘managed isolation’ has actually been the source of the infection. The only other possibility is the case of the United Nations worker from Fiji with the Delta variant, who was airlifted to Auckland for treatment. There was talk that Helen Clark, with her U.N. connections, lobbied for the Fiji case to come to Auckland hospital, and Clark is Ardern’s mentor and friend, and that is how the Labour Party works.
It was only last week that a report was released on the ongoing policy towards Covid management, from a group of academic tossers, led by Skegg of Otago University. Based on media reports at the time, this report recommended that a single case of the Delta variant should lead to a national lockdown. And lo and behold, within a week the academic tossers have got their way. Apparently, because the Delta variant has taken off in New South Wales, Australia, we have to do what they did not, i.e. go straight into a full lockdown. The analysis is that the Sydney outbreak is derived from one case, a limousine driver from the airport. However, the logic of this is that all of Australia should be in lockdown, not just the NSW and Victoria states. The governor of Western Australia likes to impose lockdowns, but has held off so far.
The actual reason is that there are not cases there yet. But, according to the ubiquitous Professor Baker, also of Otago University (based in Wellington), all of the South Island should be in lockdown. After all, some Aucklander do visit the South Island tourist spots, like Queenstown, to go skiing. I bet the Ski resorts are really pleased with Ardern and the academic tossers, removing all their customers just as a new snowfall is on the way, in the last gasp of winter. It might also be the last gasp for some of the related businesses hundreds of miles away from any Covid cases. Meanwhile the academic tossers like Baker continue to get their six figure salaries, while those of us with worthless qualifications who rely on casual work at the minimum wage get no more work for at least the next three days, if not longer. There may be no courier arriving from Auckland with my purchases for much longer, nor the new appliance that is meant to be coming from Christchurch.
The photo below is from one of the power substations in Kaiwharawhara, near where I used to live in Wellington city. In the last cold snap the power-generating companies failed to supply enough power, and the retail companies had to ration it. The extra power sources include old coal-burning facilities in Huntly, south of Auckland. Power use is reduced during lockdowns, and the environment benefits, but the Ardern government has failed on power supply as well.
Update: it is now six days into this absurd lockdown. Yes, it is true that there has been a bit of an outbreak in Auckland, and thousands of people are being called contacts, so legally have to get tested. There are also a handful of cases in Wellington, where a few people returned after visiting Auckland. Wellington is hundreds of kilometres from Auckland, and there are no cases in between. Today, in justifying the extension of the lockdown, Ardern brandished a crude map of the whole country, with black dots all over it. This was meant to indicate where all the close contacts resided, and so it indicated possible Covid cases, including in the South Island.
The South Island is a cold, mountainous, sparsely populated place, apart from the plains around Christchurch. But there were no Covid cases when the lockdown was imposed last Tuesday, and there are no cases being announced today (Monday). Just maybe that means there are no cases at all, but we have to wait to see if Jacinda will rescind the removal of all civil liberties down south this Friday. The international media, especially the BBC, seem to think that she will accept the presence of Delta cases like the rest of the world, like in Britain where there are about 30 000 new cases per day. But no, they should now realise that Ardern is resolute, if not obsessed, along with her Health officials (and the academic tossers) that the Elimination strategy must be made to work, so she can be the only one to achieve Zero Covid cases.
Update#2: It is now over a week since the national lockdown started, and Covid cases are still rising in Auckland. As expected the total lockdown remains in the Auckland province, and north of Auckland, but the ‘level’ is to be lowered south of Auckland to be at 3. The lockdown madness still continues, though, as ‘level 3’ is still a lockdown. There is simply to be a border with the Auckland region. In fact the whole ‘levels’ model is meaningless now it’s obvious that Ardern prefers a total lockdown. Being at level 3 doesn’t mean civil liberties are granted.
So the people in the South Island hoping to released from this madness are out of luck. Of course there are still no Covid cases, there haven’t been since last year, but Ardern’s health bureaucrats are still looking. Apparently there are still symptomatic people down there, which, in the latest press conference she qualified by using the term ‘contact’. This points to the fundamental misinformation that the government here propagates to suggest there are always cases of Covid lurking out there in society. Their advertising continually tells us that a common cold is also a symptom of Covid; therefore, if there are always people with a common cold in the community there is also the need to be always testing for the possibility of new cases. In other words, it is only a matter of testing properly, not the fact there are no actual cases there.