In order to stop the spread of The Delta Variant™ in New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told people to limit time spent outdoors and not speak to their neighbors. And she’s serious.
New Zealand, like their Australian cousins, is pursuing a “COVID Zero” approach which means that they impose harsh lockdowns every time someone tests positive for the airborne respiratory virus. It’s an insane strategy, but there is so much “sunk cost” that the leaders there are committed to seeing it through rather than admit that they were wrong.
After 6 months of no COVID cases, last Saturday, a 58-year old man in New Zealand’s largest city, Auckalnd, showed signs of illness and tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. His wife, who had been vaccinated, tested negative. The man has not received his coronavirus vaccine shot yet because of difficulties with the online booking system.
Immediately, authorities were concerned this lone case could be the dreaded The Delta Variant™ which is more transmissible (though less dangerous) than the original strain of the coronavirus and would put their “Zero COVID” model at risk.
One case of Delta in New Zealand? That was unacceptable.
On Tuesday, before confirming that it was indeed The Delta Variant™, PM Ardern announced that the entire country of 5 million people would be plunged into a Level 4 lockdown at 11:59 pm New Zealand time that very night.
Level 4 is the highest level of lockdown advising people to stay home other than “essentail” movement, closing schools and businesses, only “essential services” like grocery stores, pharmacies, clinics, and gas stations remain open. Travel is limited, all public gatherings are canceled, all public venues closed, and there is a “reprioritisation” of healthcare.
That sounds peachy, doesn’t it?
The harsh lockdown will continue for 3 days. In areas “exposed” like Auckland and the Coromandel Peninsula — because the man had dared to have a weekend away with his wife instead of sitting in his home quadruple masked and in fear — the lockdown would last for 7 days.
The stated “Risk Assessment” needed to go into a Level 4 lockdown is that there is “sustained and intensive community transmission occurring” and “widespread outbreaks.”
The goalposts have shifted in New Zealand so now “sustained and intensive community transmission occurring” and “widespread outbreaks” means a single person who tests positive.
PM Ardern defended this move because she insists it’s better to “start high and go down levels rather than start too low” and have the virus spread.
“We have made decisions on the basis that it is better to start high and go down levels rather than start too low, not contain the virus, and see it move quickly. We’ve seen the dire consequences of taking too long to act in other countries, not least our neighbors,” said PM Ardern during a press conference announcing the lockdown.
She offered some other advice including limiting time outside because just passing by someone could spread the ‘Rona, and not talking to neighbors.
Sounds like the Australian Variant of Authoritarianism has spread to New Zealand.
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The lockdown in New Zealand has caused panic buying in the country as people prepare to shelter in place for several days.
It’s still a mystery how the man contracted COVID after 6 months of no cases of the Wuhan virus.
Check out the fascinating reporting from The Daily Mail that mixes pandemic porn with outrage over the lockdown:
The country was virus-free and living without restrictions until policymakers ordered a snap nationwide lockdown on Tuesday, in response to a single new infection — the first locally-acquired case in six months.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed that a total of 10 cases have been detected since the draconian stay-at-home order was announced, all of which were infected with the highly-transmissible Delta.
Its is the first sign the mutant strain could undermine the 19 months of economically-crippling restrictions New Zealanders have had to endure to pursue the elimination strategy.
Scientists have warned ‘zero Covid’ is near impossible with the Delta strain, which is many times more infectious than the original virus that emerged in China.
Delta is already wreaking havoc in neighbouring Australia, which took a similar approach to New Zealand but is seeing the strategy fall to pieces.
Source: Daily Mail
Here is the full presser:
Now that the case count has risen to a whopping 10, PM Ardern is standing by her decision to lockdown 5 million people.
Ardern told TVNZ, “It demonstrates, at this stage, Level 4 is the right place to be.”
These “COVID Zero” people are crazy, and they’re running things in New Zealand, Australia, and some parts of Canada.
You should thank God every day that you live in the U.S. of A. — even if it is under incompetent governance for the moment, at least it’s not “COVID Zero” levels of crazy.