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Posts Tagged ‘Delta variant’

The Virus, the Bubble, and the Trap

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In case people missed it, National’s de- facto 2023 election campaign was launched on 15 March this year.

The campaign – in the form of a petition to open a Trans Tasman bubble without need for MIQ – was uploaded onto National’s twitter account, and twentyfive minutes later onto Caretaker Leader, Judith Collin’s account:

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Pressure mounted from the business community. The usual vocal business, tourism, and hospitality industry lobbyists made their voices heard loud and repetitively to the point of being cliched “broken records”:

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Even state-owned, non-commercial RNZ was prodigious in platforming the clamour from business interests.

Voices calling for caution were few and far between. Apparently, calls for caution were not nearly as news-worthy and exciting as the prospect of re-opening our borders to our nearest neighbour after nearly a year cut off from the rest of the world.

One voice of caution came from Stuff Media’s travel journalist, Brooke Sabin. In October 2020, Mr Sabin posed five critical questions pertaining to any proposed travel bubble. One such question asked:

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One of the key questions around a travel bubble with Australia is what happens if a community case pops up? For example, if we have flights to Adelaide and a single mystery case popped up there, would flights to and from New Zealand be cancelled? If not, would we adopt Australia’s hotspot definition and stop travel if there were more than three cases for three days in a row? The New Zealand public may find that hard to stomach, but that’s why debate is needed now, before the election, to try and settle on a risk we’re happy with.

Travellers, airlines, insurers and the tourism industry need this certainty. We could see cases pop up once a bubble is underway, and nobody quite knows at what point travel would continue, or if tens of thousands would have travel plans disrupted by widespread cancellations.

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Events nine months later were to answer his questions, with grim, dramatic effect.

Ironically, Brook Sabin’s article was picked up and republished by a merchant banker, Fifo Capital. The financiers at Fifo obviously recognised the inherent danger posed to the Aotearoa New Zealand’s economy should covid19 – especially the highly infectious Delta Strain –  break through our borders. It was a pity other businesses did not share Fifo’s wise caution.

The strident calls to open a Trans Tasman bubble succeeded.

On 6 April this year, PM Ardern announced that “quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and Australia will start on Monday 19 April“.

However, she also issued a clear, stark warning:

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“Quarantine free travel will not be what it was pre-COVID-19, and those undertaking travel will do so under the guidance of ‘flyer beware’. People will need to plan for the possibility of having travel disrupted if there is an outbreak.”

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It was a warning that many either did not heed or understand.

University of Auckland epidemiology professor, Rod Jackson, who recently appeared on Newshub Nation (2 October), and who has a reputation for clear, unvarnished, truth stated with crystal clarity:

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“I’ve seen some things in the newspaper and the media about people complaining they are not being helped by the New Zealand government when they’re stuck in Australia and can’t come back.

I think that they need to suck it up, that anyone who wants to go to Australia needs to be aware that at a moment’s notice they could end up being there for weeks, if not months.”

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Again, people took no notice.

Eighteen days late, on 23 July, PM Ardern announced the closure of the Trans Tasman bubble. The Delta Strain was spreading through Australia and the risk that a traveller could bring it back to this country – as happened in June this year – could no longer be ignored.

PM Ardern pleaded with New Zealanders:

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“There is considerable pressure on our managed isolation facilities at the moment and my strong urging to everyone is do not travel to Australia in the next eight weeks.”

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Returnees were put in two weeks isolation upon return to Aotearoa New Zealand, putting a strain on availability of MIQ rooms. New Zalanders were now not only trapped throughout the world, trying to get home, but thousands were now also trapped throughout Australia.

Returnees demanded access to MIQ rooms. There were insufficient rooms. Calls became strident. The media shamelessly gorged itself on amplified stories of misery, stress, and hardship. There were emotive headlines and interviews. There were clicks to be gained; advertising to sell; and careers to build.

A few in the media bucked the stampede to exploit this human crisis. Writing in his column, Q+A presenter, Jack Tame, pointed out the blindingly obvious:

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“Remember – this is the way the bubble was designed to function. From the word go, there was risk for anyone who decided to go to Australia. You bought a ticket. You chose to travel. You assumed that risk. I actually think the people who’ve come back from New South Wales and into MIQ should consider themselves very lucky they haven’t had to pay for the privilege when everyone else does.”

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The truth is that business and political agitation for a trans tasman bubble generated considerable media stories. Once the bubble collapsed and New Zealanders were trapped overseas, there were yet more “human interest” stories to be made. The more tragic the story, the better the headline.

24 hours a day, seven days a week, the media feasted.

Critics of the Labour government; political opportunists; those dissatisfied with travel restrictions; and detractors of the MIQ system were quick to weaponise “human interest”, “heart-string” stories for their own ends. Where reasoned argument fell short against our covid19 and MIQ policies, emotive invective took over. That weaponisation of PM Ardern’s plea to Be Kind was turned back against the government and those who understood the danger which covid19 posed to us collectively.

And then, finally, our luck well and truly ran out.

On 17 August – four months after the Trans Tasman bubble had opened – a community case of the Delta Strain was detected in one person, in Auckland. The PM wasted no time, and the entire country was thrown into Level 4 Alert lockdown at 11.59PM that very night.

Since then, Delta has infected 1,420 people. Two have tragically died (as at 6 October 2021).

The response from National, amplified by the media, has been scathing:

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Voxy: ‘Short and sharp’ lockdown will be the longest ever - Judith Collins, Chris Bishop   http://www.voxy.co.nz/politics/5/392524   National:  Time has run out on Government’s incoherent Covid strategy  https://www.national.org.nz/time-has-run-out-on-governments-incoherent-covid-strategy    Newshub: Sparks fly in Parliament as Jacinda Ardern, Chris Hipkins deny pace of COVID-19 vaccine rollout meant inevitable lockdown  https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2021/09/sparks-fly-in-parliament-as-jacinda-ardern-chris-hipkins-deny-pace-of-covid-19-vaccine-rollout-meant-inevitable-lockdown.html   National: Government has choices and needs to make them now  https://www.national.org.nz/government-has-choices-and-needs-to-make-them-now    National: New Zealand at Covid crossroads  https://www.national.org.nz/new-zealand-at-covid-crossroads   National: What is the Government’s Covid strategy?  https://www.national.org.nz/what-is-the-governments-covid-strategy    Newshub: Coronavirus: Judith Collins says 'no point worrying' about source of COVID-19 outbreak, Ardern should 'deal with it' or accept she can't change it  https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2021/09/coronavirus-judith-collins-says-no-point-worrying-about-source-of-covid-19-outbreak-ardern-should-deal-with-it-or-accept-she-can-t-change-it.html        National: No mention of Delta strain in Government plans  https://www.national.org.nz/no-mention-of-delta-strain-in-government-plans    National: South Island should drop now to alert level 2    https://www.national.org.nz/south-island-should-drop-now-to-alert-level-2    National: Labour has dropped the MIQ ball  https://www.national.org.nz/labour-has-dropped-the-miq-ball   Stuff media: Covid-19 NZ - Judith Collins says level 4 should be all but ruled out, Government lacks mandate to lock people down  https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/300412630/covid19-nz-judith-collins-says-level-4-should-be-all-but-ruled-out-government-lacks-mandate-to-lock-people-down     National: No mention of Delta strain in Government plans  https://www.national.org.nz/no-mention-of-delta-strain-in-government-plans       National: Labour recklessly delayed vaccine shipments  https://www.national.org.nz/labour-recklessly-delayed-vaccine-shipments    RNZ: New level 2 rules a 'bitter pill to swallow' for South Island, Collins says  https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/450975/new-level-2-rules-a-bitter-pill-to-swallow-for-south-island-collins-says    National: Minister won’t say how much more taxpayers will be up for  https://www.national.org.nz/minister-wont-say-how-much-more-taxpayers-will-be-up-for

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Every morning, afternoon, and throughout the evening, from Monday to Sunday, National and their fellow-travellers from business and right-wing media  excoriated the government for the current outbreak. The relentless headlines – of which only a small sample is presented above – does not even  include radio, television interviews and social media propaganda.

Demands for a Trans Tasman bubble was a carefully laid trap from National.

If the bubble  was successful, Chris Bishop and National’s current (?) Leader, could loudly proclaim success and claim credit for loosening restrictions and ‘liberating’ New Zealanders from our isolation. It would be a valuable, vote-grabbing ‘coup’ to take to the 2023 general election.

“See? This is what a competent government looks like! This is what a National does! Vote for us!”

If the bubble failed, Chris Bishop and National’s current (?) Leader, could blast the government for incompetence and every other ‘misdemeanour’ imaginable.

“See? This is what an incompetent government looks like! This is what Labour does! Vote for us!”

Truly, it was a win/win, no-lose, cunning gambit.

The Government fell for the trap. Delta got loose. Country forced into lockdown. Delta all but impossible to contain.

Checkmate.

If there is a lesson for Labour, it is this: As Opposition, National can demand whatever it can dream up. But as Opposition, it has zero accountability for consequences when things go horribly wrong.

Never listen to National. They are the the party of responsibility, except when National has no responsibility.

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References

National Party: Open the Trans Tasman Bubble Now (archived)

Twitter: National Party – Sign the Trans Tasman bubble petition

Twitter: Judith Collins – Sign the Trans Tasman bubble petition

RNZ: Tourism New Zealand forecasting billion-dollar economy boost if trans-Tasman bubble opens

Stuff media: Crack open the border, mate – Waikato tourist towns’ plea for trans-Tasman bubble

Stuff media: Tourism disappointed over delay in trans-Tasman bubble date

Newshub: Coronavirus: – Pressure mounting on Government to open trans-Tasman bubble soon to save tourism businesses

RNZ: Business community wants quick decision on trans-Tasman bubble

Newshub: COVID-19 – Concerns some small tourist towns will be gone before trans-Tasman bubble opens

Stuff media: Government pushed to act on trans-Tasman travel bubble

Stuff media: Covid-19  Five big problems with the proposed trans-Tasman travel bubble

Fifo Capital:

Beehive.govt.nz: Trans-Tasman bubble to start 19 April

Newshub: Coronavirus – Expert’s blunt message to the Govt as it ponders level 2 for Auckland – ‘How brutal do you want to go?’

Stuff media: Trans-Tasman travel: Prepare to be stuck ‘for weeks’ if you travel under re-opened bubble, expert says

RNZ: NZ government suspends quarantine-free travel with Australia for at least eight weeks

RNZ:  Australian traveller who visited Wellington has Delta variant

Stuff media: Covid-19 – A timeline of the Delta outbreak

Ministry of Health: 39 community cases of COVID-19; two border cases; more than 63,000 vaccines doses administered yesterday

Voxy: ‘Short and sharp’ lockdown will be the longest ever – Judith Collins, Chris Bishop

National: Time has run out on Government’s incoherent Covid strategy

Newshub: Sparks fly in Parliament as Jacinda Ardern, Chris Hipkins deny pace of COVID-19 vaccine rollout meant inevitable lockdown

National: Government has choices and needs to make them now

National: New Zealand at Covid crossroads

National: What is the Government’s Covid strategy?

Newshub: Coronavirus – Judith Collins says ‘no point worrying’ about source of COVID-19 outbreak, Ardern should ‘deal with it’ or accept she can’t change it

National: No mention of Delta strain in Government plans

National: South Island should drop now to alert level 2

National: Labour has dropped the MIQ ball

Stuff media: Covid-19 NZ – Judith Collins says level 4 should be all but ruled out, Government lacks mandate to lock people down

National: Labour recklessly delayed vaccine shipments

RNZ: New level 2 rules a ‘bitter pill to swallow’ for South Island, Collins says

National: Minister won’t say how much more taxpayers will be up for

Additional

The Spinoff: New Zealand urgently needs a serious opposition leader

Al Jazeera: New Zealand grapples with Delta – and Tucker Carlson

Reference sources

MIQ: History and origins of MIQ

Covid19: History of the COVID-19 Alert System

MBIE: Managed isolation and quarantine data

RNZ: Timeline – The year of Covid-19 in New Zealand

Stuff media: Covid-19 – A timeline of the Delta outbreak

Other Blogs

The Knightly Views: Media lessons from a pandemic

The Standard: Smug hermit king

Previous related blogposts

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 4 – Caretaker Leader Collins, another rare mis-step

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 15 (@L3)

The Microbiologist, the Caretaker Leader, and some Nasty Germs

One thousand dead New Zealanders per year?

The Virus, the Media, and John Key

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Acknowledgement: Rod Emmerson (15-21 March 2021)

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One thousand dead New Zealanders per year?

19 September 2021 4 comments

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The “Plan Bers” – including assorted right-wing politicians, privileged media commentators, faux “experts”, business lobbyists, et al – have a new argument they’re recently taken to trotting out, to justify opening up Aotearoa New Zealand to covid-19:

“We already have 500 New Zealanders dying each year from influenza.”

Overseas “experts” have been just as keen to join the But What About Influenza Club, like this character from the United States, Dr Amesh Adalja, from the Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Health Security:

“We don’t want anybody to die from Covid. Covid is a vaccine preventable illness, now is a vaccine preventable death, but I think there are many tools that you can use short of a lockdown to achieve that goal and I think what we eventually want to see is decoupling of cases from hospitalisations and death. But there’s going to be some level of deaths that occur, and I think it’s interesting because in New Zealand you had around 26 or so deaths.

But in the last flu season you had 500 deaths and I just worry about that precedent, because what is New Zealand going to do for the next flu season? How do you kind of square what you’ve done for Covid for flu? When the flu deaths are 20 times higher because of those actions you’ve taken and I think this is going to be something that your society has to to think about and debate, and I think it’s an important debate to have.”

So there we have it: allowing people to die from preventable disease is worthy of “debate”.

When do we get to debate if Dr Adalja should live or die. Or his family?

In the same “debate”, hosted by Nathan Rarere on RNZ’s “First Up“, Dr Adalja called our lockdowns  “as a last resort when nothing else works, and as a policy failure“.

He acknowledged that our current covid death rate was “around 26 or so deaths” (It’s currently at 27.)

Dr Adalja didn’t mention that the covid death toll of the United States – his home country – currently stands at 691,562. The US is currently experiencing 148,000 cases and 1,991 deaths reported per day.

Nor did Dr Adalja mention that the US is currently experiencing a massive resurgence of Delta Covid, with hospitals being over-whelmed.  Hospital care is being rationed as staff can no longer cope:

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Dr Adalja mentions none of these inconvenient truths. Out-of-control Delta surge. Hospitals forced to rational care. Rising death toll. 

Not. One. Word.

But he is happy to  lecture us that lockdowns are “a policy failure“.

On a recent episode of TV3’s The Nation, political report Tova O’Brien asked National’s covid spokesperson, Chris Bishop, and ACT Leader, David Seymour what number of covid-related deaths would be acceptable to open up Aotearoa New Zealand.

Chris Bishop suggested that “he would like us to get to around 85% before we start to open up“. David Seymour offered no vaccination target.

According to one report from The Lancet, at 90% vaccination rate (including under 15s), our death toll was estimated at around 1,030 per year – twice the influenza rate.

Neither had the courage nor stomach to offer an acceptable death rate.

Mr Seymour, however,  did respond with a bit of Grim Reaperish ‘whataboutism’:

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“Well, 30,000 people die in New Zealand every year.

The truth is that we cannot prevent all deaths. The important question here is how much more are we prepared to spend to prevent a COVID death than deaths from car crashes, deaths from cancer? Because at the moment, the money we’re spending on COVID, we can’t spend on preventing those other kinds of deaths.”

David Seymour has established a new benchmark by casually accepting the annual influenza death toll as an acceptable figure. If 500 covid-related deaths per year are also acceptable, we should look at other causal factors of death in this country, and apply the new benchmark:

David Seymour’s 500 Deaths Rule

Road toll for 2020: 320 + 180 more acceptable deaths = 500

Work Related Deaths for 2020: 66 + 434 more acceptable deaths = 500

Drownings for 2020: 74 + 426 more acceptable deaths = 500

Homicides for 2020: 142 + 358 more acceptable deaths = 500

There are probably many more categories that could have the 500 Deaths Rule applied.

If Mr Seymour can justify an increased covid death toll by pointing and demanding, “What about ‘flu?” then anything can be justified and made acceptable.

This is the benchmark set by David Seymour.  Let’s call it “Seymour’s Death Rule”.

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References

RNZ: Covid-19 debate – When should New Zealand open up its borders?

Worldometer:  Coronavirus Cases – United States

RNZ: US hospitals ration care amid shortages and Covid-19 surge

Reuters: Some U.S. hospitals forced to ration care amid staffing shortages, COVID-19 surge

NPR: A COVID Surge Is Overwhelming U.S. Hospitals, Raising Fears Of Rationed Care

Vox: Americans are dying because no hospital will take them

New York Times: Idaho allows overwhelmed hospitals across the state to ration care if necessary.

Forbes: In Idaho And Other States, The Delta Covid-19 Surge Is Forcing Hospitals To Ration ICU Beds

CNN: As Covid-19 hospitalizations spike, some overwhelmed hospitals are rationing care

Newshub: Coronavirus – David Seymour says Govt ‘cannot prevent all deaths’, says money spent on COVID can’t be spent preventing deaths from other causes

The Lancet – Western Pacific:  COVID-19 vaccine strategies for Aotearoa New Zealand: a mathematical modelling study

Otago University magazine: Flu a major killer

Police: 2020 road deaths down on 2019

Worksafe: Fatalities

Water Safety: Water Safety Reports 2020

Police: Daily Occurrences of Crime and Family Violence Investigations

Previous related blogposts

Judith Collins and National: It’s a trust thing

The freezing cold invisible hand of neo-liberalism

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 4 – Caretaker Leader Collins, another rare mis-step

The Microbiologist, the Caretaker Leader, and some Nasty Germs

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Acknowledgement: Chris Slane

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Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 20 (@L3)

7 September 2021 Leave a comment

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6 September: Day 20 of living in lock-down…

Day’s beginning.

Current covid19 cases: 801

Cases in ICU: 6 (4 on ventilation)

Number of deaths: 1 (Total since first infection in Aotearoa: 27)

Twenty new cases today – the same as yesterday. Not a drop down – but not a rise either.

Meanwhile, as reported, Aotearoa New Zealand :

“… outside of Auckland, will move to alert level 2 from 11.59pm Tuesday 7 September.

Auckland will stay in level 4 until 11.59pm next Tuesday, 14 September.

Cabinet will review the alert level settings for all of New Zealand next Monday, 13 September.

It’s a positive move which reflects that this risk-averse government accepts we are on the right track.

Meanwhile, business interests – notably the trucking industry – is bleating like stuck pigs – at requirements for truckies to be tested as they move from Auckland to the rest of the country.

Because these never happened:

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— right?

The grim prospect of an infected truckie driving the length and breadth of Aotearoa New Zealand, transmitting Delta along the way, does not bear thing about. One infected truckie could plunge the country back into Level 4 lockdown, giving the trucking industry more headaches than a simple nasal swab test.

Time to grow up, fellas.

And speaking of immature, self-entitled, plonkers of the worst sort:

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Seymour this morning released a written statement with an attached image displaying the priority access codes, which allow Māori and Pacific people to receive the vaccine at Whānau Ora locations without needing to book ahead.

“The virus doesn’t discriminate on race, so neither should the rollout,” the statement said. “Access to vaccination has been the same for people of all ethnic backgrounds. If fewer Māori are vaccinated it can’t be a problem with access, but this move by the government insinuates that Māori have trouble making a booking.”

However, the virus does discriminate. The New Zealand Medical Journal has found that after controlling for age and underlying conditions Māori and Pacific people have 2.5x and 3.06x higher odds of being hospitalised for contracting Covid-19 than other ethnicities.

Researchers estimated risk of death for Māori from Covid-19 was at least 50 percent higher than European New Zealanders and infection rates are also significantly higher while vaccination rates have languished.

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“The virus doesn’t discriminate on race, so neither should the rollout” – he doesn’t even understand the basic science behind infection; underlying co-morbidities; and heightened risks. His wilful ignorance is Trumpian, to put it politely.

Look, I get that the two right-wing parties are scrapping over the diminishing red-neck voter demographic. There are probably a few hundred thousand right-wing voters which could mean a couple of extra MPs for either ACT or National.

But if National and ACT are going to get dirty with their politicking, and put us at risk of a raging pandemic, I doubt they will endear themselves to the majority of New Zealanders.

What David Seymour did was so wrong that it reveals an immoral aspect to his nature that makes him unfit to be anywhere near political power.

A person who exploits a minority for political gain is the last thing this country needs.

We already have one deadly germ to deal with. We don’t need another.

By Day’s End.

Current covid19 cases: 821

Cases in ICU: 6

Number of deaths: 1 (Total since first infection in Aotearoa: 27)

So ended the twentieth day of our journey to beat this thing.

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References

Newshub: As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak –  Sunday, September 5

RNZ: Covid-19 update – 20 new community cases reported in New Zealand today

The Border Mail: Truck driver in isolation with COVID, exposure site listed at Henty

NZ Herald: Covid 19 coronavirus – Truckie’s ‘guilt’ after spreading Covid-19 in Victoria

WA Government: COVID-19 update 27 August 2021 – NSW truck drivers test positive to COVID-19

RNZ: Māori vaccine equity scheme criticism blows back on Seymour

RNZ: Covid-19 Delta outbreak day 20: How it unfolded

Other Blogs

A Phuulish Fellow: Down to Level 2 – 2021 Edition (+ Rant about Australian Plague)

The Standard: Seymour undermines vaccine roll out for Maori

Previous related blogposts      

Team 5 million vs Covid: Aotearoa on Three Strikes  

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 1  

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 2  

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 3  

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 4 – Caretaker Leader Collins, another rare mis-step  

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 5 & 6  

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 7 & 8  

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 9 & 10  

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 10 (cont’d) & 11  

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 12  

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 13 & 14  

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 15 (@L3)  

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 16 (@L3)  

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 17 & 18 (@L3)  

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 19 (@L3)

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Acknowledgement: Rod Emmerson

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Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 19 (@L3)

6 September 2021 1 comment

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5 September: Day 19 of living in lock-down…

Day’s beginning.

Current covid19 cases: 782

Cases in ICU: 7

Number of deaths: 1 (Total since first infection in Aotearoa: 27)

Another day spent mostly at home. Plenty of housework to finish, and a chance to catch up on some tree and flax planting I’d been meaning to get around to for since Lockdown. The front lawn is slowly becoming a micro-“Zelandia, with native trees and other plants gradually replacing flat grass:

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New flax plantings, and Whao (encircled in red)

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New ‘Whao’ (centre)

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The flax was obtained from a professional garden-maintenance team who were going to dump it. The flax was perfectly fine, simply needing to be split apart, pruned back, and planted.

As I was doing the work (surprisingly easy, as the holes did not require to be large or deep), I spotted a ‘friend’ high over-head on a power-line studying my exertions:

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Perhaps in a few decades, when my ‘mini-Zelandia’ garden has become more mature, Kereru, Tui, and other native birds will choose to roost in branches that are only a few metres from my lounge.

How cool would that be?

Trimmed other trees around my property. Much needed, as they were over-growing a pathway, and entangling each other.

Went to ‘Repco” for car engine oil. The contactless-service was well designed; a table at the back of the retail outlet; roped off; masked retail attendant; QR codes well displayed; sign-in sheets filled with names and details of customers: a responsible corporate citizen.

Waited until after the 1PM press – more on that at the conclusion of this blogpost.

Phoned my partner. We chatted. Hoped that the North Island outside Auckland would drop to Level 2 this week. She had been gardening as well. If the nationwide lockdown lasted long enough, the entire country would have the most well manicured gardens on the planet.

Waited until 8PM to do grocery shopping. At this time, the supermarket was not as busy as usual, and social distancing was a simple, non-stressful matter.

A day where I managed to do the things I’d been meaning to do for months, but always managed to deflect my attention elsewhere.

Jarring note for the day, unsurprisingly, came from TV3’s Tova O’Brien, in an exchange that beggared belief. Ms O’Brien asked Dr Bloomfield this bizarre question about exemptions for funerals:

“Funeral directors are pushing for that because there’s this inconsistency where under Level Four, strangers can be socially distanced in a supermarket queue and they can be socially distanced on the waterfront, but they can’t be socially distanced at a burial outdoors at a cemetary.”

The utter incoherent stupidity of that question/assertion cannot be over-stated.

Firstly, it is not an “inconsistency”. Many businesses and services have either closed or been forced to offer reduced services.

Secondly, it defies rational understanding that Ms O’Brien compares a supermarket queue or people on the waterfront with a funeral service. Strangers at a supermarket, standing in a queue, do not – generally speaking – comfort each other in a heightened emotional state of grief. Strangers passing by on the waterfront, likewise, rarely grab each other for a ‘comforting’ hug.

Thirdly, comparing going to a supermarket for a loaf of bread with a funeral service where a family’s loved one is being buried or cremated, is offensive. Who makes such comparisons?!

As Dr Bloomfield explained – with the sainted patience of a teacher addressing a six year old:

“Indeed, one of the comments I would make and I know the Prime Minister has made it before, is that funerals and tangihanga tend to be places where people like to comfort each other and so its… that’s a very important consideration here where it may be more difficult for a whole lot of reasons for people to maintain physical distancing, but of course we’ll continue to keep talking with the funeral director groups. If the request comes through we’ll assess that on it’s merits.”

Ms O”Brien followed up with a loaded question that can only be described as appallingly bad taste:

“Do you support the arrest of grieving families at a ceremony if they were socially distanced?”

If she was looking for headlines, thankfully TV3/Newshub’s news-editors wisely decided against it. Little wonder that public irritation with some individuals in the mainstream media has increased throughout the covid crisis. And little wonder that social media lit up with outright disgust at her inappropriate line of questions.

Because most people with at least a modicum of comprehension realise how – during a raging pandemic – funeral services can be potential super-spreaders leading to more covid cases; more hospitalisations; more ICU patients, and ultimately, more deaths:

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I don’t know what Ms O’Brien thought she was doing, but it wasn’t journalism.

But to end the day on a good note, there were only twenty new cases today (same as yesterday); no covid viral particles detected in wastewater outside Auckland and Wellington.

And no one died.

There’s your headline, Ms O’Brien: no one died.

By Day’s End.

Current covid19 cases: 801

Cases in ICU: 6 (4 on ventilation)

Number of deaths: 1 (Total since first infection in Aotearoa: 27)

So ended the nineteenth day of our journey to beat this thing.

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References

RNZ: Covid-19 wrap for day 18 of lockdown      

Facebook: COVID-19 update – 5 September 2021 (video, @ 25:22)

BBC: Coronavirus doctor’s diary – A super-spreading funeral that led to three deaths

Fox4: Texas funeral becomes ‘super spreader’ event after 40 people contract COVID-19

ABC News: Health authorities fear Wilcannia funeral could be a ‘major’ COVID event as NSW Far West cases climb

France24: Fiji’s capital enters lockdown after Covid-19 ‘superspreader’ funeral event

Newshub: As it happened: Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak –  Sunday, September 5

RNZ: Covid-19 update – 20 new community cases reported in New Zealand today

Previous related blogposts

Team 5 million vs Covid: Aotearoa on Three Strikes  

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 1  

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 2  

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 3  

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 4 – Caretaker Leader Collins, another rare mis-step  

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 5 & 6  

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 7 & 8  

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 9 & 10  

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 10 (cont’d) & 11  

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 12  

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 13 & 14  

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 15 (@L3)  

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 16 (@L3)  

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 17 & 18 (@L3)  

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Acknowledgement: M David

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Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 16 (@L3)

3 September 2021 3 comments

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2 September: Day 16 of living in lock-down…

Day’s beginning.

Current covid19 cases: 687

Cases in ICU: 8 (3 on ventilation)

Number of deaths: –

Woke up to RNZ’s ‘Morning Report’ to not one – but two stories! – of people wanting to travel and whining that they haven’t been allocated MIQ rooms. Both were classic cases of entitlement with the latter an unbelievable whinge. (Trigger warning: both are irritating to listen to.)

Especially as, in the same morning, it was clearly reported and explained that the Delta outbreak in Aotearoa New Zealand was already placing our MIQ facilities and hospitals under considerable strain.

It is unclear what purpose was served by airing those two stories about New Zealanders demanding to travel. While it is understandable that people may want to travel to see elderly parents, now is not the time during a global pandemic. (I would dearly love to visit my parents and family overseas!)

Especially – and RNZ failed utterly to make this point – Kiwis travelling through countries to visit elderly, vulnerable, or sick family is not a wise idea. In fact, it’ds downright dangerous. Picking up Delta and then infecting elderly parents would most certainly finish them off.

RNZ failed to probe whether international travel was wise.

This is ‘grief journalism’ we can do without.

The day was chilly and overcast.

Curiously, traffic appeared to be less than preceding days. In parts of Kilbirnie (away from the supermarkets) traffic was actually more like Level 4 Lockdown last year; sparse.

Only half of pedestrians were wearing facemasks. Disappointing.

The second best news of the day? We had 49 new cases, in contrast to yesterdays depressing ‘blip’ of 75. The downward trajectory resumes – hopefully – as long as all New Zealands act responsibly.

And the best news of the day? Despite over 700 cases, no one has died. (“Don’t ‘jinx’ it, Frank!”, I hear you all scream at me!) Despite everything that has happened since this outbreak began, our preternatural Kiwi good luck has continued.

Please may that not end.

By Day’s End.

Current covid19 cases: 736

Cases in ICU: 6 (3 on ventilation)

Number of deaths: –

So ended the sixteenth day of our journey to beat this thing.

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References

RNZ: Covid-19 update – 75 new community cases in NZ today

RNZ: Covid-19 – Overseas Kiwi distraught at MIQ vouchers pause

RNZ: Covid-19 – MIQ virtual lottery on the way, but bookings on pause for now

RNZ: Covid-19 – Delta cases outstrip hotel quarantine

Newshub: As it happened – Latest on COVID19 community outbreak – Wednesday, September 1

Stuff media: Covid-19 outbreak situation report – what happened today, September 2

Previous related blogposts

Is Air NZ the Covid re-infection problem? Possible evidence points to national airline

Does OIA evidence confirm possible Air NZ link to recent covid outbreaks?

Team 5 million vs Covid: Aotearoa on Three Strikes

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 1

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 2

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 3

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 4 – Caretaker Leader Collins, another rare mis-step

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 5 & 6

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 7 & 8

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 9 & 10

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 10 (cont’d) & 11

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 12

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 13 & 14

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 15 (@L3)

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Acknowledgement: Tom Scott

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Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 15 (@L3)

2 September 2021 5 comments

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1 September: Day 15 of living in lock-down…

Day’s beginning.

Current covid19 cases: 612

Cases in ICU: 8

Number of deaths: –

Day 15 of Level four lockdown in Auckland and Northland. For the rest of Aotearoa New Zealand, the first day of moving down to Level 3 – or Level 4 with takeaways, as others describe this alert level.

It’s a beautiful spring day outside. There are few clouds in our over-carbonised, clear blue sky.  According to 9AM news bulletin on RNZ, traffic around Wellington is “near normal”.

As I leave for work around mid-day (Wednesdays at the moment are short work-days for me) for my one and only client, I drive past the local railway pak & ride. A lot more cars today, around ten or a dozen.

Out on the motorway and the level of traffic stuns me. It is almost as heavy as pre-L4 lockdown. And… roadworks are back. Damn.

Though I notice that road-working crews are all masked up. It’s a warm, sunny day, and these guys are klitted up with work clothes, safety boots; flouro-jackets, and face-masks. They must be bloody hot with all that kit.

These guys are heroic. I hope their employers slip them a little “something extra” in their Christmas pay-packet.

On the Hutt River-bank, a few people are strolling or lying in the sun.

In Wellington I took a slight detour around Oriental Bay. My suspicions are confirmed: the footpaths are busy with strollers and joggers. And the beach has attracted a few families and others:

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Oriental Bay – northward

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Oriental Bay-Freyberg beach

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Only around half or two-thirds maximum were masked up. (Note: the photos do not do justice to the actual numbers that were present.)

So much for staying home during Alert Level Three. Some folk must have missed that memo.

This blogger wasn’t the only one who noticed the apparent, unannounced drop down to Level Alert 2, seemingly skipping L3 altogether:

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No wonder the government was so cautious before moving to Level 3. They had to make absolutely certain that there was no community transmission outside of Auckland before dropping a Level.

Government and Ministry officials understood that human behaviour being what it is, moving out of L4 would signal to people that there was no further imminent danger. To all intents and purposes, Level 3 and Level 2 are one-and-the-same for a significant portion of the population.

Danger over.

Slip back into complacency mode.

Time for fish and chips.

The Mystery of the Delta Strain

Yesterday, Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield admitted that government and ministry officials had no clear understanding of the source of the current outbreak:

Contact tracers have hit a brick wall in their efforts to find the source of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Earlier, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield explained all while evidence points to Auckland Crowne Plaza hotel managed isolation facility, the virus’ exact path remained a mystery.

“We’ve gone down a number of roads and they’ve all turned out to be dead ends so far,” Dr Bloomfield told a news briefing. “We may never find the exact way that the virus got from the facility into the community but we are very confident that’s the place where it came from.”

All that is known for certainty is that the Delta strain emanated from Sydney (or somewhere in New South Wales). The virus entered through a Returnee from Sydney (“Index Case”) in early August soon after the Trans Tasman bubble – originally strongly supported by the National Party – was closed on 23 July.

But the Ministry of Health has been unable to ascertain how the Returnee transmitted the virus to others.

There is one possibility that has not been publicly discussed: that the Returnee infected a member of the flight crew. This is a real option, as flight crews are not required to isolate for fourteen days at MIQs like everyone else.

They are provided with separate facilities at Heartland Hotel situated at 14 Airpark Drive, Māngere, some 3.5kms from Auckland International Airport; at Grand Windsor in down Auckland’s Queen Street, and Ramada Hotels at Auckland CBD and Manukau.

For more information, I refer the reader to two previous stories on this issue:

If the outbreak was caused by the “Index Case” transmitting the virus to a flight attendant, it will not be the first time an Air New Zealand cabin-crew member has been infected and transmitted the virus to others.

Whilst flight crews are not required to isolate in MIQ for the full fourteen days, that are required to provide a negative nasal-swab test before allowed to leave their facility:

Air NZ crew returning to Aotearoa have to enter managed isolation, just like the passengers they are transporting, but are allowed to leave if they return a negative test after 48 hours.

However, as the most recent Delta case in Wellington showed, negative results are not always accurate. Not even two negative tests. Or three negative tests!

All but one of the cases reported on Wednesday were in Auckland, the other is a household contact of a Wellington case who had returned three negative tests and remains asymptomatic.

If that Wellington person had been an Air New Zealand flight crew member, they would have left their isolation facility after their first negative test.

For reasons that can only be guessed at – but may involve strong financial incentivess – Air New Zealand flight crews continue to be exempt from isolation rules that are strictly enforced for others.

Private Enterprise, a pandemic, and consequences

ACT Leader David Seymour is not short of ideas. Most of them impractical, to put it politely.

One such very dim “light bulb” moment – which government has thankfully dismissed as downright dangerous – is to allow private MIQ facilities to operate:

ACT’s plan for managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) – were it to be in Government – would be to allow private hotels to provide MIQ services under contract to the government as a way to relieve the shortage of MIQ beds. Governed under strict rules, both workers and guests in these facilities would have to be vaccinated.

“ACT has a plan to expand MIQ places and make it safer than what the Government is doing now. Under ACT’s plan, owners of currently mothballed hotels could seek a licence to operate MIQ according to strict criteria,” ACT leaders David said in a statement accompanying the release.

How successful would it be?

Who knows. But if two recent incidences are any indication: not very good:

Two students have now been caught breaching lockdown rules by flying out of Auckland, receiving fines for breaking the rules.

Over recent days, a Victoria University student flew from Auckland to Wellington without an exemption.

An Otago University student flew from Auckland to Dunedin.

Covid-19 response minister Chris Hipkins said this was “disappointing”.

“These people should not be travelling, there will potentially be consequences for them, for breaking the rules.”

But more critically still, Minister Hipkins made it clear these students had breached critical security protocols to board their flights:

“They should be being checked even before they get into the airport terminal. Previous level four restrictions, and I just want to check to make sure this has absolutely operating as it has previously, have had people at the door at the airport terminal checking why people are entering the terminal, before they can even get anywhere near the plane.”

So the Auckland airport terminal – a private company – had such poor security that two students were able to breach the facility and board their flights, without being detected?

If those two had been carrying the Delta Strain, Aotearoa New Zealand would now be facing new clusters of the virus in Wellington and Dunedin. It would cost the country billions more.

Would Auckland airport pay the bill for the economic damage that would result?

And if private MIQ facilities failed, allowing Delta (or a worse strain) into the community – would David Seymour take responsibility?

Did National take responsibility for the failed Trans Tasman bubble they pressured the government to open up?

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The answer to all three questions is a resounding “no”.

As the sign on the wall states quite clearly:

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Wiping the Debating Chamber Floor with ACT

National and ACT got their wish: Parliament sat yesterday. Though going by Hansard and video, National’s Caretaker Leader Collins and  ACT Leader David Seymour may be ruing that it happened at all.

A series of questions from Mr Seymour to Minister Hipkins resulted in hard answers that the former was perhaps not expecting. Minister Hipkins wiped the floor with the hapless ACT Leader.

But matters took a dark turn when Mr Seymour asked:

“Has he, his officials, or anybody in the Ministry of Health at all—or the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, for that matter—offered to pay additional money to Pfizer, as Canada has done, to get additional doses faster?”

Minister Hipkins made his response crystal clear; Aotearoa New Zealand would not be bribing its way to vaccinating the population ahead of other countries:

“Pfizer have been very clear: their production, the production that they have of the vaccine, is fully committed around the globe and they are not willing to offer rich countries the opportunity to pay more in order to displace countries who cannot afford to do that—which suggests that big pharma has a higher ethical and moral standard than the ACT Party does.”

Mr Seymour quickly changed his line of questioning.

For good reason. Various cranks around the country have been pushing the line that we should outbid other nations for the vaccine.

Former minister; ACT politician; and relic from a by-gone age, Richard Prebble made the same disturbing demand in a NZ Herald article*:

“The government is innumerate. They are willing to spend $685 million on a harbour cycleway with negative cost/benefit but not $40 million for an early vaccine rollout to save billions of dollars and possibly many lives.”

As did NewstalkZB ‘host’ and right-wing fellow-traveller, Heather du Plessis-Allan who said on 7 July:

“Why did we agree to $56 and then baulk at another $10 to get it earlier? Why would we say ‘nah we’d rather be right the back of the queue thanks, literally last in the developed world’?

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I do not buy the government’s argument that it’s unethical to pay more to vaccines ahead of others

We didn’t elect them to prioritise citizens of other countries, they’re elected to look after us

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But isn’t it an insight into the lack of urgency behind the scenes. For a mere $10 a person, we might’ve actually been front of the queue, instead of dead last in the developed world”

A free marketeer Twitter-user also called for jumping the queue by paying a “premium” (a polite way of calling an outright bribe):

“Of course you can. By drug companies selling to the highest bidder, they increase their resources to ramp up production. ECON 101 which this government, and its defenders don’t understand”

The only people who do not understand “econ 101” are neo-liberals who are so blinded by their simplistic ideology that they cannot see the consequences of their reckons.

Let me oblige them.

Assume that pharmaceutical companies auction of their vaccines to the highest bidder(s). What would be the consequences (because free-marketeers/neo-libs must accept that everything has consequences, whether intended or not)?

As I pointed out to the ACT-supporting Twitter user:

Firstly, it is just plain wrong. It is neo-liberal, hyper-individualist self-interest taken to it’s deadly conclusion. Even if we could, is that the soul of Aotearoa New Zealand?

Bidding for what’s already available just pushes up the price & we WILL lose out every time to richer nations. There is no avoiding that reality. 

There are 49 other countries richer (GDP, 2017 figures) than us. Calculated per capita, there are thirtyone wealthier nations ahead of us. Imagine entering a bidding war with the US, China, UK, France, etc. This would be the scenario confronting us if certain foolish people had their way. We would end up with nothing.

Bidding for vaccines creates a law-of-the-jungle instead of international co-operation. Again, there is no way small nations would benefit from a tooth-and-claw struggle with richer economies.

To assume otherwise demonstrates a childlike lack of understanding of international affairs and human nature.

Pharmaceutical companies are already producing at full capacity. A bidding war would not create more supply; just push up prices. (Our electricity supply has similarities.)

How would out-bidding poorer, developing nations to grab vaccines  benefit us? It wouldn’t. It would simply create vast breeding grounds of new mutant strains of covid. These mutations would likely end up with strains more infectious; more deadly, and more critically, more resistant to current vaccines.

In effect, bidding and grabbing vaccines would end up with covid spreading and evolving, becoming vaccine-resistant, and we would end up back at Square 1.

It is obviously from the witterings of the likes of Mr Seymour, Mr Prebble, Ms du Plessis-Allan, Mr Wrathall, et al, that none of them have thought this through. Their shallow thinking would doom us all to repeating cycles of vaccination; new mutations; new vaccines; new mutations; new vaccines, etc.

With a lot of dead people in body-bags along the way. But then, Mr Seymour is prepared for that eventuality:

“If vaccination doesn’t work, then we’re isolated forever. Clearly, we have to have a plan B from vaccination being the endgame. And if we’re not prepared to do it at the start of next year, then when are we prepared to do it?

That could mean living with Covid-19, even if that led to large outbreaks, more hospitalisations and even fatalities because the level of population is not high enough to keep health services from being overwhelmed.”

By Day’s End.

Current covid19 cases: 687

Cases in ICU: 8 (3 on ventilation)

Number of deaths: –

So ended the fifteenth day of our journey to beat this thing.

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* This blogger will not be linking directly to Mr Prebbes or Ms du Plessis-Allan’s articles. To do so would reward them and their media platform with “clicks” this blogger is not prepared to encourage.

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References

RNZ: Covid-19 update on 31 August – 49 new cases in the community

Twitter: @FranklNZwe missed the L2 announcement – 1.9.21

Newshub:  Coronavirus – Latest on COVID-19 community outbreak – Tuesday, August 31

Newsroom: Sydney returnee likely source of Covid outbreak

NZ Herald:  Covid 19 coronavirus – Bluff wedding cluster – Air New Zealand flight attendant is possible origin

Newshub: Air New Zealand crew claim they’re being ‘forced’ to work on COVID-19 quarantine flights

Stuff media: Covid-19 – 75 new cases in Delta community outbreak, but curve is ‘gradually bending’

Stuff media: ACT proposes private MIQ and ending ‘the four horsemen of bad regulation’

RNZ: Uni student who flew from Auckland to Wellington didn’t understand guidelines

Twitter: National Party – Sign the Trans Tasman bubble petition

Hansard: Seymour, David; Hipkins, Chris; Mallard, Trevor

RNZ: Week in Politics – Learning to live with the virus – or not

Twitter – @SteveHWrathalldrug companies selling to the highest bidder – 31/8/21

Twitter: @fmacskasy – Bidding for what’s already available – 1/9/2021

Worldometer: GDP by Country

Worldometer: GDP per Capita

NZ Herald: Covid 19 coronavirus – David Seymour -Open the borders next year regardless of vaccination levels

RNZ:  Covid-19 update – 75 new community cases in NZ today

Previous related blogposts

Is Air NZ the Covid re-infection problem? Possible evidence points to national airline

Does OIA evidence confirm possible Air NZ link to recent covid outbreaks?

Team 5 million vs Covid: Aotearoa on Three Strikes

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 1

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 2

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 3

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 4 – Caretaker Leader Collins, another rare mis-step

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 5 & 6

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 7 & 8

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 9 & 10

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 10 (cont’d) & 11

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 12

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 13 & 14

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Acknowledgement: Jeff Bell

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Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 13 & 14

1 September 2021 5 comments

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30 August: Day 13 of living in lock-down…

Day’s beginning.

Current covid19 cases: 511

Cases in ICU: 2

Number of deaths: –

Another gray, overcast day. It’s been raining and though there’s no wind, there’s an edge of a chill in the air.

Local railway park n ride has four cars. On SH2 River Road, I counted half a dozen cars in sight – and a rainbow! Yet again, commercial vehicles dominate the road, including a car-transporter with two cars on the deck.

South of Petone, on SH2, a car had broken down, it’s rear end up on jacks. An AA Service vehicle and police car with flashing emergency lights were in attendance. (Just one example why people need to stay home and shop or exercise local: a break-down involves emergency services in attendance and the potential for those in the immediate vicinity to break their “bubbles”.)

Traffic surprisingly south of Ngauranga was lighter than usual.

Radio on in the car, Nine to Noon’sKathryn Ryan’s first guest was  University of Auckland Professor of Epidemiology, Professor Rod Jackson. It was a hard, in-your-face discussion, but worth listening to. For all those immature adults constantly demanding certainty, Professor Jackson had an apt saying:

“The only thing certain about covid is uncertainty.”

He added that the best way to contain covid is simple: keep infected people away from everyone else. That stops the spread. Blindingly simply. But surprising how many people don’t get it.

The  interview is worth listening to. Prof Jackson knows his stuff. He’s not a NewstalkZB “shock jock”; fear mongering columnist; or business whinger.

There is a world of difference between professional experts who have spent decades learning their science and telling us hard truths – as opposed to business whingers always demanding the impossible (because Sydney shows us where that road leads) or doom-merchant columnists who mock and deride us for our collective efforts to carry on fighting this viral foe. Or a media platforming bad-take “reckons” from overseas and local commentators that serves no useful purpose. Except gain ‘clicks’ for advertising revenue?

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Or, sadly, opportunistic and ambitious politicians (not mentioning any names) who will undermine the government in the hope that it will win them votes. It won’t. Team 5 Million are committed to this struggle; we have too much invested; and we identify with the empathetic, yet determined, leadership of PM Ardern. Anything that detracts from our collective “mission” creates an “Us and Them” resentment.

With the Opposition National party being the “Them”.

It is also a dangerous strategy  because Delta is apolitical. Any chink in our collective armour, and the virus will exploit it mercilessly.

Undermining the government undermines us all.

Later in the day, at the 1PM ‘presser’, the nation learns that we have 53 new cases! 53! A significant drop from yesterday’s 83.

Judging by the responses on social media, the entire nation just went nuts with joy. It’s like we just beat our Yankee cuzzies in KZ7 all over again.

The grim news is that numbers have reached mid-500s with five in ICU. These are not good figures to have. About now, statistically speaking, people will start dying.

Driving home tonight, I realise it’s been several days since I’ve listened to my usual news programmes, mostly RNZ’s “Checkpoint” and TV1 News. I’m not really missing either of them.

By Day’s End.

Current covid19 cases: 562

Cases in ICU: 5

Number of deaths: –

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31 August: Day 14 of living in lock-down…

Day’s beginning.

Current covid19 cases: 562

Cases in ICU: 5

Number of deaths: –

First up on RNZ’s Nine to Noon programme: serial business whiner, Michael Barnett. I switch off.

It’s a new day and the big question on Team 5 Million’s collective mind is – was it just a ‘blip’? Or is it a real, downward trajectory. This afternoon’s 1PM presser will be top-rating, must-watch TV (or must-listen radio).

Pre-empting the announcement, I post on Twitter:

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And the announcement is made…

…the number of cases has fallen for a second day running: 49! And the crowd goes wild!!!

Meanwhile, in Wellington, having totally failed to read the room, National’s Caretaker Leader, Judith Collins, has demanded that Parliament sit – physically – instead of conducting business by modern technology.

Instead, she and a handful of picked cronies (but, curiously, not including Chris Bishop – the National Party’s covid spokesperson) fly to Wellington from Auckland.

Breaking lockdown in Auckland to fly to Wellington. According to Ms Collins, as an elected Parliamentary representative, she is an “essential worker”.

Bad news for Ms Collins.  Five million pairs of eyes just rolled simultaneously: a politician – by definition – cannot be essential.

By Day’s End.

Current covid19 cases: 612

Cases in ICU: 8

Number of deaths: –

So ended the thirteenth and fourteenth day of our journey to beat this thing.

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References

Stuff media: Covid-19 NZ – Delta outbreak sees 83 new cases, worst day of outbreak yet

RNZ: Covid-19 update –  83 new community cases reported in New Zealand        

RNZ: Cabinet considers tougher restrictions under Level 4

Twitter: @FoxyLustyGrover – stoically getting on with – 29/8/21

Twitter: @MariaSherwood2Are the media nitpicking – 26/8/21

RNZ: Covid-19 lockdown day 13 – How it unfolded

Twitter: @fmacskasy –  if our new positives drop further, I expect – 31/8/21

RNZ: Covid-19 update on 31 August – 49 new cases in the community

Additional

Other Blogs

Previous related blogposts

Team 5 million vs Covid: Aotearoa on Three Strikes

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 1

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 2

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 3

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 4 – Caretaker Leader Collins, another rare mis-step

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 5 & 6

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 7 & 8

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 9 & 10

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 10 (cont’d) & 11

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 12

For Reference

Covid19.govt.nz: COVID-19 compliance

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Acknowledgement: (author unknown)

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Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 5 & 6

24 August 2021 10 comments

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22 August: Day 5 of living in lock-down…

Day’s beginning.

Current covid19 cases: 51

Cases in ICU: –

Number of deaths: –

Another day spent at home.

Morning; breakfast of low-sugar muesli and watch the eternally-young, but deceptively-capable Jack Tame on Q+A. First interviews Chris Hipkins who makes comments almost suggesting we will have to “live with covid19” at some time. The comments set of a flurry of media and social media speculation.

Jack Tame suggests we might’ve offered a “premium” to pharmaceutical companies to acquire their vaccines. Chris Hipkins replies that government has never offered a premium to jump the queue.

Rightly so. The suggestion is repellent. I would want no part of it.

And on a practical level, we’d be outbid every time by countries wealthier than us. In a “rule of the jungle”, Aotearoa New Zealand would lose every time.

Tampa survivor  and refugee from Afghanistan, Abbas Nazari, is interviewed. Mr Nazari is incredibly personable and articulate. There is something incredibly compelling about his insights. I can’t help but wonder if, in an Alternative Universe, he might’ve been a natural leader in his country of birth.

He is Afghanistan’s deepest loss and Aotearoa’s gain.

After Q+A I don’t go out. No groceries are needed (I don’t do the toilet paper hoarding thing) and there’s plenty to do around the house.

Listening to RNZ as I catch up on things I’ve been planning to do; assemble shelving for memorabilia displays; repairing items in my “breakages box” that I’ve been meaning to get around to for a while; strip bed; laundry; give cat cuddles; vacuum; change kitty-litter; dusting… the day fills with tasks I’ve no excuses to not do.

In the early evening; dinner; phone my work colleagues regarding rostered shifts and maintaining work ‘bubbles’. My throat has developed a minor soreness that becomes more noticeable as I’m chatting with my colleague. The soreness subsides later that night. Troubling…

I watch “One Land Bridge“, noting the weirdness that is so redolent of David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks“.

I chat with my partner on the phone and we share our weekend experiences. We have separate ‘bubbles’ because of my community work and extended ‘bubble’ that goes with it.

I’m feeling unusually tired and go to bed after chatting with my partner. Work tomorrow and I start early for a long day.

By Day’s End.

Current covid19 cases: 72

Cases in ICU: –

Number of deaths: –

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23 August: Day 6 of living in lock-down…

Day’s beginning.

Current covid19 cases: 72

Cases in ICU: –

Number of deaths: –

I wake up feeling like crap. Fuzzy headed and lethargic. I have breakfast, shower, and prepare for work. I wait for the unwellness to subside.

Driving down along SH2, known informally as the “River Road”, I park my car by the roadside. Nearby, there are workers on two massive diggers with flashing yellow “alert” lights in the middle of the river and pushed-up mounds of rock.

I still don’t feel better. I phone the covid line (0800 358 5453). It’s not much help, I can’t get through. I phone the Healthline (0800 611 116) and I’m answered promptly. I relate my symptoms to the person on the line; she takes down my details; advises me a nurse will get back to me shortly. I thank her.

I hang up. My attention is drawn back to the men on the diggers. Should they be operating during a Level 4 lockdown? How is river works essential?

The number of commercial vehicles on the River Road is noticeable. If Delta spreads, businesses that continue to operate may likely be spreaders of this virus. Their occupants appear to travel widely throughout the Wellington region.

I take several photos with my smartphone.

First, an all-but-deserted SH2 River Road. There are no more than half a dozen vehicle on the road at any one time:

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The two diggers, atop mounds of re-arranged river rock:

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Do I carry on to work? Should I even be on the road?

I start my car and head south along SH2. The SH58 interchange comes into view and I make an immediate decision; head up the interchange on-ramp; veer right around the the roundabout and head back north. I’m going home. I shouldn’t’ve left my house in the first place; my thinking is that fuzzy.

Back home I phone and advise my manager.

The nurse phones me back later. She ‘interrogates’ my symptoms. I ask if I need covid testing. She replies; not at this stage, but if my condition worsens I’m to get down to a testing station. She advises rest, plenty of fluids, and paracetamol if I have it. I thank her for her help.

I take the paracetamol tablets, noting I need to buy more. Sleep.

A little later, waking, my head is clearer than before. Still a bit fuzzy, but not as bad as before. I phone Greater Wellington Regional Council, intrigued at the riverwork I’ve been witnessing on Friday and today. The receptionist take my details, and promises someone will call me back.

True to their work, “M.B.” phones me back from GWRC.

M.B. advises that the river work has been designated as “essential” and that it is permitted activity. He says the shifting of rock is necessary to “defend” river banks that’ve been scoured out by torrential flow after recent heavy rains. Riverbank walkways are threatened with collapse if left un-remediated.

M.B. explains the work was stalled last week because of more heavy rain – hence why work men were not on scene until last Friday.

M.B. reassures me that the workers are in their own “work bubble” and not interacting with the public.  Similar work is also being carried out further south at Pōmare, where river bank scouring has exposed (or threatening to expose) gas pipes. (Question: who builds gas pipes so close to a river?!) “Essential work” is also planned for Moonshine Park, along the river bank. Another riverbank walkway is also threatened.

I thank M.B. for returning my call and offering answers to my questions.

I’m still a bit fuzzy-headed and don’t question M.B. any further.

However, if river works are “essential work”, other businesses may reasonably question why they are missing out and not deemed “essential” as well.

Let’s hope M.B. is reflecting an accurate picture and the workers are keeping to a strict work bubble. A collapsed walkway can be repaired. Lives damaged by Delta Covid, not so easily.

Later in the night, I’m feeling better. If this was nothing more than a head cold, it was the first one since August last year.

But not surprising. The flutracker website has reported a recent upsurge in flulike symptoms:

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A reminder that covid19 isn’t the only virus floating around, waiting to ‘hitch a ride’ in our warm breeding grounds that we call our bodies.

By Day’s End.

Current covid19 cases: 107

Cases in ICU: –

Number of deaths: –

So ended the fifth and sixth days of our journey to beat this thing.

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References

RNZ: Covid-19 update – 21 new community cases in New Zealand today

RNZ: Covid-19 lockdown day 5 – How it unfolded

TVNZ: Q+A – Aucklanders told to prepare for more time in lockdown

TVNZ: Q+A – Tampa survivor on why New Zealand must again open doors to Afghanistan refugees

Flutracker: Weekly Interim Report New Zealand

RNZ: Live – Covid-19 updates on day 6 of lockdown

Twitter: Richard Hills – Ardern won’t regret helping save thousands of lives

Recommended Reading

The Guardian: The Covid crisis suits rightwing media personalities as they monetise fear

Additional

Wikipedia: COVID-19 pandemic death rates by country

Other blogs

The Standard: Matt King caught blowing anti vaccination dog whistle

Previous related blogposts    

Team 5 million vs Covid: Aotearoa on Three Strikes

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 1

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 2

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 3

Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 4 – Caretaker Leader Collins, another rare mis-step

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Acknowledgement: Rod Emmerson

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Life in lockdown, Round Two – Day 1

18 August 2021 16 comments

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18 August: Day 1 of living in lock-down…

 

Day’s beginning.

Current covid19 cases: 5

Cases in ICU: –

Number of deaths: –

After a night of torrential rain bursts and thunderous blasts of lightning, I wake up to Round Two of life under lockdown. The weather is overcast outside; the roads wet from last nights downpour. This is a good sign; people may be less inclined to sneak of down to the beach or summer baches for a long weekend.

Sorting through my revised roster of reassigned clients. Thankfully most are staunch and understand the severity of the crisis.

Listening to the radio, vox populi interviews of Kiwis in various centres, I am struck at the stiff-upper-lip response from people. The lock-down is considered necessary; people point to the cluster-f**k that is Sydney; “we can do this, we’ve done it before”. I am reminded of WW2 stories of British people during the blitz; calm resignation and determination to see it through.

Only one jarring, dissenting voice from the South Island who whines like a six year old that only the North Island should’ve been locked down because the outbreak was a North Island thing:

But Matt Radcliffe said the South Island should not have been forced to lock down for a case in the North Island.

“We’re like sheep aren’t we. Yeah, I think it is over the top. You know, one case, if it is one case in the North Island… Australians can lock down a state, why can’t New Zealand lock down an island, if it’s in the north, shut down the North Island.”

Australians can lock down a state” has to be the most moronic statement since David Seymour prattled on about plastic bags. Obviously Mr Radcliffe is living in blissful ignorance at how Delta has slipped through one state after another because NSW did not opt for a full lockdown.

Contrast with this person, who really was the adult in the room:

In central Dunedin, Carolyne Smith said anything less than level four would have risked a New South Wales-type scenario.

“I mean if we go for sharp and hopefully short, we’ll knock it on the head, but I think if Jacinda and Ashley had gone for say level three or anything like that, they would have been just wide open to letting it go.”

The drive into Wellington took me along my usual route; down SH2 to the motorway; through the Terrace Tunnel; down Ghuznee Street, toward the Basin Reserve and then the Eastern Suburbs.

Traffic along the way. Definitely busier than the last L4 lockdown last year. Whilst hard to put a firm number, counting at any moment indicated twice the level of traffic than last year.

And there seemed to be more tradies on the motorway and city streets with their vans, utes, flat decks, et al. Plus a coca cola delivery truck – because carbonated soft drinks, as we all know, are critical to our wellbeing.

Near deserted suburban park-and-ride carparks. Normally filled to overflowing onto adjacent streets, only half a dozen cars  sat under a gloomy, chilly gray sky…

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The drive into town (and on the way home later that night) was marked by the presence of police vehicle. One sighted on SH2; another in Victoria Street, south of the Terrace Tunnel; and one parked up on the grassy central berm in Cobham Drive, connecting the city to the airport. This was in marked contrast to last year, when police were curiously absent from streets and motorway.

As mentioned above, traffic on the motorway was noticeably heavier than last year’s lockdown. More trucks; vans, utes – both marked and unmarked.

The number of vans and utes with electricians and plumbers markings indicated that either these people were still on the job, or perhaps were nipping down to their local super market for milk, bread, and nappies.

Last year I listed the markings on commercial vehicles. But I also missed many more travelling in the opposite direction. I may or may not continue the practice…

But certainly will observe and diary events, incidences, and people being people as I witness them.

Meanwhile, as I entered the deserted streets of Wellington…

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Looking north along Cuba Street, toward Cuba Mall…

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Coca cola-branded delivery truck. Both delivery persons wore masks. One over his face (good). The other under his chin (not so terribly good)…

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At Evans Bay marina, where campervans were permitted by Council by-laws to park-up. It remains to be seen if these vehicles stay put for the next few days…

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As I left my last client and headed to my car, I stood in a Miramar street not far from the Weta Workshops.  Unlike last year, the high-pitched sound of a turbo-prop aircraft accelerating to take-off still filled the dark night. A marked difference from the dead still silence from April 2020.

Tonight I headed home. Wednesdays was usually spent with my partner; dinner; something interesting to watch on TV or Youtube (Chris Hedges and Seth Myers are strong favourites). But tonight was to be spent home, alone. We have separate “bubbles” with mine being far more extended than hers because of my community work.

At least my cat would be happy to see me.

By Day’s End.

As trhe day came to a close, our covid toll had doubled…

Current covid19 cases: 10

Cases in ICU: –

Number of deaths: –

So ended the first day of our journey to beat this thing.

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References

RNZ: South Island settles in for level 4: ‘That’s the sacrifice we’ve got to make’

RNZ: Microbiologist slams ‘irresponsible’ plastic ban claims cited by Seymour

Other Blogs

The Standard: The importance of political leadership in dealing with Covid

The Standard: Here again, but Delta gives less latitude. So give less latitude.

Previous related blogposts

Life in Lock Down: Day 33 & 34

Life in Lock Down: Day 2 of Level 3

Life in Level 1: Reinfection – Labour’s kryptonite

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Acknowledgement: Slane

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Team 5 million vs Covid: Aotearoa on Three Strikes

18 August 2021 15 comments

[Blogger’s Note: Events from 1.30PM, 17 August have overtaken this story.]

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Prologue

16 June, NSW: A Sydney limousine driver ferrying airline flight crews is found to be infected with covid19. Analysis confirms it is the Delta variant.Two days later, community transmission is reported where a Sydney woman had only fleeting contact with the limousine driver.

22 June, NSW: The “Bondi cluster” increases to 21 cases.

22 June, Wellington: Aotearoa New Zealand’s government announces a “travel pause” with New South Wales, effective 11.59PM. As reported;

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Strike 1

23 June, Wellington: The news shocked the entire country: a traveller from Sydney to Wellington had tested positive for covid19:

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The male traveller had spent the weekend of 19/21 June in Wellington. After only a fleeting two day visit, the country was thrown into an urgency not seen since last year’s covid outbreak and lockdown.

The response was immediate. Wellington’s Level Alert was raised to Two. It was quickly determined that the traveller had mixed with  thousands of other people as he visited popular tourist spots; retailers; a bar; cafe; hotel, etc:

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Authorities only knew of his precise movements because he – unless most New Zealanders  – was scanning the QR code wherever he went. It was this meticulousness that allowed the Ministry of Health to ascertain not just where he had been, but who might have been in close contact with him.

We owe this person a great deal.

Four days after the first announcement, and upon his return to Sydney, the traveller’s partner tested positive for covid19. It was announced at around the same time that – unsurprisingly – the traveller’s covid variant was indeed the highly infectious Delta strain.

It was the same strain that was rapidly spreading through Sydney from where the traveller had come from. By a miracle, as days passed, there were no reports of community transmission in Wellington. None of his 2,609 close contacts tested positive for the virus. Neither were there any traces of the virus in the city’s wastewater.

We had dodged the bullet. Strike 1.

Strike 2

5/6 July, Auckland-New Plymouth: The country was stunned to learn that relieving foreign ship crews were landing in Aotearoa, without the full 14 day MIQ. One crew was transported to their vessel, the Spanish-owned Viking Bay:

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Alarmingly, the MoH disclosed:

A Ministry spokesperson says they entered into the country under an exemption so they did not have to quarantine.

“These mariners entered into New Zealand under an exemption contained within the maritime border order.

“It’s important to note that all people such as mariners who this exemption applies to are still required to comply with full infection prevention controls.”

It is as if  leading Ministry of Health officials are oblivious as to the vastly more infectious nature of the Delta variant. Remember that the Sydney limousine driver infected a 70 year old woman at a local cafe with only the briefest of interactions. As New South Wales’ Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerry Chant, pointed out:

“This indicates that the initial case was highly infectious, as transmission must have occurred through fleeting exposure, noting that the woman who caught the infection at the café was actually seated outside and there was no known contact with the initial case.”

The van driver who transported the nine seafarers was put into isolation, as were two other Ports of Auckland workers.

The Ministry’s insistence that there was “minimal additional risk to any of the contacts during the transfer process” rings dangerously hollow when we realise that the current crisis facing NSW started of with one highly infectious person.

At last two Ports of Auckland workers and the van driver were put at risk of infection; potential serious illness, and possibly worse.

The drive from Auckland to Port Taranaki is a five hour journey.  During that journey, the travellersstopped to use the toilets at a Hamilton isolation facility”.

It is difficult to accept they made only one “pit stop”.  With nine individual seafarers and a van driver, is it credible they all needed to use the toilets simultaneously? And as Maritime Workers Union national secretary, Craig Harrison, added:

“It’s a fair old drive from Auckland to New Plymouth when you think about it. If the driver’s coming back from New Plymouth, if it’s down and back in one day, he must be refuelling somewhere.”

It is unclear where else the van may have stopped for food, toilet visit, or to re-fuel. And if the van had broken down, with two infectious seafarers onboard; had they interacted with passers-by or professional road-side assistance, the scenario for community transmission would have been set.

12 July, Wellington: A week after the five-hour drive from Auckland to Port Taranaki, the Viking Bay docked in Wellington.

13 July, Wellington: According to the MoH, fifteen of the Viking Bay’s 20 crew were transferred to an on-shore MIQ facility at the Grand Mercure Hotel. Including the original two from the Auckland-to-New Plymouth drive, all fifteen were now infected with the Delta variant.

The following day, another crewmember – one of the remaining five aboard the Viking Bay – became unwell and joined his comrades in MIQ. This despite the fact that same seafarer had recently returned a ‘negative’ covid test.

We had apparently (?) dodged another bullet. Strike 2.

Strike 3

18 July, Lyttelton Port: Another ship, the Spanish-flagged Playa Zahara docked at the port. The Delta variant had spread easily throughout the ship, infecting three crewmembers. A further thirteen crew also tested positive for covid, most likely Delta as well.

Again the relieving crew for the fishing vessel landed in Auckland on 18 June and spent only two days in MIQ. According to MoH,  they were tested before their arrival in Aotearoa New Zealand and again prior to boarding their ship. It is unclear when the second testing took place.

4 August, Port of Tauranga: Matters took a dangerous turn when the Singapore registered container ship, Rio De La Plata, docked at the port to unload its cargo.

Initially, 72 Tauranga port workers boarded the Rio De La Plata.

Eleven of the 21 crew aboard the ship tested positive for covid. According to the MoH, “Officials have worked with employers to identify 94 port workers who had contact with the ship, unloading cargo in shifts over the four-day period it was berthed at Port of Tauranga from 6pm on Wednesday 4 August to 2pm on Saturday 7 August.”

The number was subsequently increased to 98.

Writing for Stuff media, was able to reveal that no one at Port of Tauranga or Bay of Plenty District Health Board was keeping track of who was or was not vaccinated at the port.

Worse was to come.

It was also revealed that port workers were needlessly exposed to infected crew aboard the Rio De La Plata  a second time:

The Rio de la Plata was initially given the okay to berth in Tauranga on Wednesday. Then it was suddenly shut down that same night. Then it was given the all clear again the next morning. And now, half of its crew have tested positive for Covid-19.

Ports of Tauranga management put their side  of events:

The ship was tied up at Port of Tauranga from 6pm on Wednesday 4 August to 2pm on Saturday 7 August…

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… A Port of Tauranga pilot boarded the vessel at approximately 5pm on Wednesday and brought the ship in to the Tauranga Container Terminal. At about 9pm, Customs NZ unexpectedly shut down operations on the ship and the local Public Health Unit advised Port of Tauranga that our pilot and the stevedores unloading the ship should go home and isolate while awaiting further instructions.

On Thursday morning, Government agencies have clarified the situation and the Public Health Unit advised us that operations can resume on the vessel and there was no need for workers to isolate.

This despite Port of Tauranga admitted that they had been advised the day before the Rio de la Plata had been boarded by an Australian Queensland pilot who later tested positive for the virus:

On Tuesday, 3 August, Port of Tauranga received an alert from Maritime NZ that the ship had been boarded two weeks ago by an Australian pilot, who had tested positive for Covid-19. Maritime NZ subsequently cleared the ship for pilot boarding. The ship was also cleared to berth by the Medical Officer of Health at the local Public Health Unit as part of the normal free pratique process.

11 August: the Rio de la Plata  departed Port of Tauranga. All port workers and two pilots tested negative for covid.

The Australian pilot who became infected was not so lucky:

The ship is linked to a COVID case in an Australian pilot who was onboard the vessel July in Queensland and who later developed symptoms and then tested positive for COVID-19 nine days after being aboard the vessel. The Australian pilot is confirmed to have the Delta variant and has not been linked to any other Queensland cases.

Yet again, bullet dodged. Strike 3.

Out!

[This part written after 1.30pm, 17 August. However, it largely follows the original ]

The high-transmission rate of Delta Covid was starkly illustrated in Australia, as described above, when a woman at a cafe came into brief, passing contact with a limousine driver.

In Aotearoa New Zealand, the insanely high degree of transmissability of Delta Covid was reinforced at Auckland’s Jet Park quarantine facility:

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Every aspect of the increased dangerous nature of Delta Covid, combined with Aotearoa New Zealand’s policies toward foreign ship crews avoiding full fourteen-day MIQ; and haphazard protocols followed by port workers with visiting ships – does not bode well for us.

Little wonder that the Prime Minister was also uneasy about our vulnerability when it came to maritime traffic:

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Delta covid is unforgiving.  We are tempting Fate with our complacency. Someone at the Ministry of Health has not been paying attention.

We must do better.

Meanwhile, from the Death Cult Capitalists

For ACT leader David Seymour, opening up Aotearoa New Zealand couldn’t come fast enough:

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And to drive home the point, he added:

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That could mean living with Covid-19, even if that led to large outbreaks, more hospitalisations and even deaths…” – Mr Seymour can be very casual with other peoples’ lives. Almost sociopathic.

To be clear what Mr Seymour is calling for:

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“We couldn’t afford a situation in New Zealand to have it out of control in the community because it would risk collapsing or compromising our health system.”

It is not often a politician calls for the planned exposure of a deadly virus on to our country; casually dismisses the inevitable deaths (and not just from unvaccinated); and doesn’t comprehend the damage it would cause our health system.

Not only would opening up and “living with covid” kill – our hospital wards would quickly fill with hundreds of covid patients. This would take beds normally occupied by others with injuries and illnesses. Hip operations would be cancelled: no beds. Injuries from a natural disaster would not be treated: no beds. Life-saving transplants could not go ahead: no beds.

That is the nightmare scenario ACT leader David Seymour would visit upon his fellow Kiwis.

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References

ABC News: How the potentially ‘inexcusable’ actions of a limo driver put Sydney on COVID-19 alert

Sky News: Woman in 70s contracted COVID from ‘fleeting exposure’ to Bondi limo driver

NSW Government:  COVID-19 (Coronavirus) statistics – 22 June 2021

Otago Daily Times: NZ pauses travel bubble with New South Wales

Ministry of Health: Australian traveller tests positive for COVID-19

RNZ: Sydney Covid-19 case flew to Wellington last weekend

Stuff media: Covid19 NZ – Wellington enters alert level 2

Stuff media: Covid19 – If Aussie tourist who visited Wellington has Delta variant, alert level shift may be needed

TVNZ: Partner of Sydney man who visited Wellington tests positive for Covid-19

Otago Daily Times: Sydney man who visited Wellington had Delta variant

The Conversation: New Zealand has managed to dodge the COVID-19 bullet, again. Here’s why

RNZ: Australian traveller who visited Wellington has Delta variant

RNZ: Two mariners who were in Auckland test positive for Covid-19

RNZ: Covid-19 – Mariners driven from Auckland to Taranaki pose ‘very low risk’

RNZ: Fishing vessel with two Covid-19 cases will dock in Wellington

MoH: Update on Viking Bay fishing vessel

RNZ: Public at risk, confine infected mariners to MIQ rooms – Des Gorman

RNZ: Another Viking Bay crew member moved to Wellington MIQ facility

MoH: No community cases; 2 new cases in managed isolation; 2 historical cases; Taranaki wastewater update

MoH: Update on Whole Genome Sequencing for Playa Zahara

NZ Herald: Covid 19 coronavirus – Most of infected Playa Zahara crew to go to Christchurch MIQ

Stuff media: Explainer – How a Covid-19 carrying ship docked in NZ, and why workers were let aboard

MoH: More than 20,000 daily vaccine doses; no community cases; two cases of COVID-19, two historical cases in managed isolation; Rio De La Plata update

Otago Daily Times: No community cases in NZ, port workers all negative

MoH: Container Ship at Sea off Tauranga tests positive for COVID-19

Stuff media: Who, exactly, is monitoring vaccination numbers at the port in Tauranga?

Port of Tauranga: Rio de la Plata Update – Tuesday 10 August

RNZ: Covid-19 transmission at Jet Park when doors opened for seconds

Stuff media: PM wants to stop foreign fishing boats from changing crews in New Zealand

Otago Daily Times/NZ Herald: Seymour – Open borders next year regardless of vaccination levels

RNZ: Covid-19 – Delta in NZ community would ‘risk collapsing or compromising our health system’

The Conversation: Most COVID deaths in England now are in the vaccinated – here’s why that shouldn’t alarm you

Twitter: @GrumpyYetAmusin8.1AM – deadly virus – eugenicist – 8.11AM  Aug 12, 2021

Additional

NZ Herald: Covid 19 coronavirus – Viking Bay mariners broke MIQ rules in Wellington

Previous related blogposts

Life in Level 1: Reinfection – No, Dr Bloomfield!

Life in Level 1: Reinfection – Labour’s kryptonite

Is Air NZ the Covid re-infection problem? Possible evidence points to national airline

Does OIA evidence confirm possible Air NZ link to recent covid outbreaks?

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Acknowledgement: Shaun Yeo

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