April 20: Day 26 of living in lock-down…
Another day of to work. As usual. I’m observant of lock-down life around me. The sparse traffic; people’s movements; how close they are to each other. It’s a mix of curious interest and heightened caution…
The Park N Rise still has three cars parked. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re the same three cars that have been there the last twentysix days. The white motorhome still parked where it was left two days ago.
Traffic on the highway in to Wellington was not much different than past few weeks; light in the Hutt Valley and sparser closer in to the city.
One unusual sight that caught my attention; a cargo ship had arrived in Wellington harbour;
It was unusual because I had not seen any seagoing vessels entering or leaving the harbour since lock-down – so this new arrival was immediately an object of curiosity. The ship was stationary (anchor dropped?) and not heading for a berth.
Could it be that it was an unwelcome visitor with a crew that might or might not be carrying contagion?
It is a long time in Western history that a ship has been denied permission to berth because it could harbour disease. If the crew are expected to quarantine aboard their vessel for two solid weeks, it will not be a comfortable experience for them. No walking around their neighbourhood to exercise for them!
At 11PM on RNZ, the Nine to Noon Political Panel featured Neale Jones and Trish Sherson. Former ACT press secretary, Ms Sherson, made the readily-obvious observation;
“…This election is going to be one of the most […] I describe it as emotional that we have had for so many decades.
Because for decades we’ve had government moving out of New Zealander’s lives. Now we’ve had a rapid rush back in and so it’s going to be very intreresting to see how that plays out.”
If anything has shown the true bankrupt nature of the free market/minimalist government ideology – it is when an outside threat to the human race demands a collective response. The Chicago School of Economics has been humbled not by the progressive Left – but by something we cannot even see. It has taken a virus – a microscopic thing barely alive – to remind us of our true human nature that to survive, we must work together for the common good.
Neo-liberalism just caught a virus – and it may not survive.
This afternoon, we had the regular announcement from the Beehive: nine new cases. Same as yesterday. No new ‘clusters’ of infection. And mercifully, no new deaths.
Dare we hope that we may have turned the tide against our viral enemy?
The 4pm announcement from the Beehive delivered a ‘verdict’ from the Prime Minister;
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the level 4 lockdown will be extended by a further five days to 11.59pm on Monday 27 April.
“We have done what very few countries have been able to do, we have stopped the wave of devastation. Our transmission rate is now 0.48, overseas the average is 2.5 people,” Ardern said.
Changing alert levels region by region in future has not been ruled out, but for now, the country will need to stick together.
The education, construction, manufacturing and forestry sectors will be able to return to work next week when alert level 3 kicks in.
The basic principle of alert level 3 will again be to restrict contact with others, requiring people to remain at home in their bubble as much as possible.
In truth, she could not have made any other decision. We still need time to contain the virus so it is under control. Perhaps even eliminated from every part of our land. The extra five days not only gives us much-needed time – but it effectively includes the ANZAC Weekend in the Level 4 lock-down.
By keeping ANZAC Weekend under Level 4 instead of Level 3, there can be no ambiguity; no “grey areas”; no loop holes that will allow a small minority the chance to give the rest of us the One Fingered Salute.
I have no doubt the police will be out in force this weekend. There will likely be arrests and prosecutions of those selfish idiots who cannot be reasoned with to do the right thing for the greater good.
The extra time will also send a clear signal to businesses to start planning on re-opening – albeit for non-contact trading. No one in the business sector can claim they don’t know what’s going on. The PM has given the clearest possible message: start planning.
Personally, the prospect of not being able to see my partner (in person, not through the technological miracle of the Internet) is not something that fills me with joy.
But it has to be done. If we can’t submerge our own interests for the greater good, then the virus will be victorious.
The rest of my work day is subdued. My clients understand what our Prime Minister has delivered to us. The lock-down of the facility will be lifted any time soon. Movement in and out will continue to be restricted. Their lives may depend on it.
At 8PM, I’m on the motorway on my way home. As usual, there are few cars around me. One or two trucks. A police car whizzing past. Out in the harbour, the lights of the ship that arrived earlier today can be seen; it looks like a floating Wellington office-block, lit up with bright lights.
It may be there for a while yet.
Further along the motorway, I pass an ambulance, also heading north.
At Lower Hutt’s Melling Interchange, there are four more ambulances – heading south this time – and an ambulance/patient transfer SUV.
Six ambulances in one night.
New Zealand is so damned lucky and we are totally oblivious to our good fortune.
Had it not been for this government’s quick action in closing our borders on 19 March, those ambulances could have been hearses.
A Twitter poll initiated two days ago has yielded some interesting results. Agreed that such polls are not very accurate as they reflect more the beliefs of my “echo chamber”, but still nearly 79% want the lock-down extended (as at 10.50PM, 20 April) and a further number – around 9% – believe we should go with recommendations from scientists and medical professionals;
Current covid19 cases: 1,440
Cases in ICU: 3 (2 critical)
Number of deaths: 12
The Independent: Is Sweden having second thoughts on lockdown?
Elemental: Hold the Line
Previous related blogposts
Acknowledgement: Jim Hubbard
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