April 7: Day 13 of living in lock-down… and unlucky for those who are superstitious. A day when there was a ray of sunshine from an otherwise bleak day of worrying signs.
Today, as RNZ reported;
Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield reported 54 new confirmed and probable cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand today, bringing the total number of cases to 1160. Twelve people are in hospital and four are in intensive care, including one person who is in a critical condition.
Today’s new figure is down from the 67 new cases reported yesterday.
If that downward slip – from 67 new cases yesterday to 54 today – becomes a solid downward trajectory, then god knows it’s been worth it. The damage to our economy; the closure of businesses (some permanently); the loss of jobs; the billions borrowed to keep this country afloat; the likely crippling of our tourism industry; and the effort made by so many people to do the right thing during the four week lock-down…
It is a little thing, but something to hold on to.
Our heroic Prime Minister warned us;
“Now is not the time to change any of our behaviours.” – Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister, 7 April 2020
Because only after two weeks, irresponsible and supposedly mature adults, are calling for a relaxation of the lock-down.Many of those clamouring voices are from the business sector for whom – apparently – the Dollar trumps people’s lives.
Even while National Party Leader Simon Bridges was calling for tough quarantine measures of travellers arriving in our country, so as not to re-introduce the contagion into our community, his economic development spokesperson, MP Todd McClay, was calling for relaxation of our already porous lock-down shield;
“New Zealanders are doing there bit here, largely across the board the vast, the vast majority of people are respecting these rules. I think if the government says they trust people around self-isolation, that there will be ways for businesses to open up.
I think if you’re a clothing manufacturer, or a small business that’s working from home it can be contactless, you will show that you will adhere to and respect all of the Covid-19 health and safety rules, but we need to be doing everything you can to keep these businesses running.”
National’s inconsistancy of tough border controls and relaxed domestic lock-down will only achieve one thing: breathing life back into the contagion and giving the virus a second chance.
It would undo the last two weeks of sacrifice, for immediate gain.
It must not be allowed to happen. The government must be allowed to stay the course and the mainstream media must stop amplifying the steady stream of hystrionics from self-interested businesspeople like “Mad Butcher” group chief executive, Michael Morton. When interviewed by RNZ Morning Report’s Susie Ferguson on 7 April, he was unashamedly blunt;
“If you open up and doing 20% of your trade, well, you’re going to lose a significant amount of money.”
Anyone who thinks that businesses could open “and respect all of the Covid-19 health and safety rules” is delusional or feeble-minded. Even in supermarkets like Pak N Save, where aisles are wider than smaller retailers, there are still significant numbers of shoppers who pay little heed to the two-metre social-distancing rule.
Or joggers like this clown, today (7 April) who ran past two women on Oriental Parade – within elbow-touching proximity;
— despite the fact that Oriental Parade has a ridiculously wide footpath for pedestrians, joggers, and even bicyclists;
He just couldn’t be bothered maintaining a safe space between himself and the two women. And he’s not alone. This blogger has seen too many other people for whom maintaining safe “social distancing” is just not a priority. Even Simon Bridges “forgets” to keep to the two-metre rule;
People not keeping their distance is dangerously common at the supermarkets.
Add to that all the other retailers Todd McClay wants re-opened with added foot-traffic; people not respecting; safe “social distancing” etiquette and we have a recipe for disaster.
You can be assured of one, simple inalienable fact: if Jacinda Ardern and the government were to follow Todd McClay’s and the business community’s demands to re-open businesses, the results would be predictable: a resurgence in infection. People would get sick. People would die.
And people like Todd McClay would blame Jacinda Ardern.
Stay staunch, Ms Ardern. Lives depend on your steadfastness.
Meanwhile, my work day started with my usual drive past the Park’N’Ride on my street. There were just three cars present. A good start I thought.
Then getting on to the main road and onto the highway, I observed the commercial vehicles on the road around me; a “CMS” van; 5 ambulances; a flat deck light truck carrying stacks of beehives; a skip bin truck; 2 vans bearing the “ZAP!” logo (the driver of one van visibly in uniform, obviously working); a Kiwirail van; 2 “Downer” vans; a “Jina’s” fruit and vege van; a green “Toll” truck; a pest-control van (company name not visible); 3 police cars; an “AA” Road Service ute; “New World” delivery van; a “Rangitikei” free-range chicken van; “Nilfisk” van; a “Kiwi Green” marked van; a “Laser” plumbing van; a “Fulton Hogan” roadworks truck; a “OS” marked van; a “L.G. Anderson truck; a van marked “BBC” (bathroom company); a gravel hauling truck; 2 “JETS” covered trucks; a Mainfreight” truck; a “McAuley’s” container-truck; a “Strait NZ” van; an “Absolute Control” marked van; a white “Caffe L’affare” van; Wellington Regional Council ute; et al.
There were definitely more police cars visible and – worryingly – more ambulances.
The traffic north of Melling Interchange was once again light; three or four cars ahead or to my rear at any given time. Around Kelson, traffic increased to approximately a dozen cars in my immediate vicinity. By the Melling Interchange traffic was the heaviest I’ve seen it in two weeks with around two dozen vehicles around me. By Ngauranga, the “numbers continued to be “heavy” (heavy compared to the last two weeks). By the time I reached the Terrace Tunnel, traffic had thinned considera=bly to about half of what I had observed further north.
Courtney Place looked “dead”; nil traffic.
At Oriental Bay, people were cautioned not to stay on the beach with lit messages;
The weather was chilly with a blustery wind so it was unlike anyone would be sunning themselves on the sandy beaches today. A quick glance confirmed my thoughts: no one lounging on the sand.
But there were still plenty of joggers and like the fellow above, not all were showing courtesy by respecting the 2 metre distancing rule.
More worryingly; the Evans Bay Marina Carpark appeared to have even fewer freedom campers’ vehicles than the previous day;
The campers had clearly “up sticks” and moved on. Aside from international air travel, it is hard to think of a more efficient vector for viral transmission than freedom campers driving around New Zealand; stopping in small towns and larger cities; and passing on their infection.
To paraphrase Peter, Paul and Mary, Where Have All The Freedom Campers Gone? And should anyone be making enquiries? Do the rental companies install GPS trackers in their vehicles? If so, the information gleaned from those devices could be troubling.
Perhaps it is time for “freedom camping” – aka the “low end” of tourism – to be curtailed.
On the way to Miramar, the fifth police car in a day was parked on the center median strip on Cobham Drive (main route to Wellington Airport). Reassuring to see the Police around. Perhaps they could look into the mysterious Case of The Missing Campers?
Meanwhile, if we thought that Todd McClay; “Mad Butcher” group chief executive, Michael Morton; and other money-hungry nuts were bad enough, the Award for the most insanely irresponsible Person in Aotearoa New Zealand has to go to this prize fool:
The virus has not yet been eradicated; new infections are still happening; and Seymour wants the lock down lifted before the four weeks is up?! Is this man deranged?
Worse still is this comment from him;
“Every day that we are locked down people are losing money, they’re losing businesses, they’ve got mental health issues that are going to arise.”
Not only is he valuing money over people’s lives – but he is exploiting mental health as a cloak to give legitimacy to his despicable suggestion. In effect he’s saying, “Never mind the risk to others; we want to make money; or else we’ll blame our supposed poor mental health on this government and the PM.”
Cue: sob story on RNZ, Newshub, TVNZ, et al about “depressed” businessman who can’t make money.
Congratulation to Seymour for hitting rock-bottom. This is about as bad as it gets for a sleazy, opportunistic politician desperate for publicity and votes.
I’m not sure which is worse to be afraid off – the virus or a psycopath masquerading as a Member of Parliament. Maybe they’re related.
Current covid19 cases: 1,160
Cases in ICU: 4 (1 critical)
Number of deaths: 1
Elemental: Hold the Line
Previous related blogposts
Acknowledgement: Rod Emmerson
This blogpost will be re-published on “Frankly Speaking“. Reader’s comments may be left here (The Daily Blog) or there (Frankly Speaking).
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