On the 17th of August, a 58 year old man from Auckland’s NorthShore, infected with covid, was found to have traveled widely through the Coromandel.
Dut to the risk to the public’s health, not just Coromandel but the whole country, was immediately put into a Level 4 Lockdown. The highest lockdown alert level.
The man had been using the covid tracer Ap and was fully cooperating with the police and health authorities. As a result the authorities were able to accurately determine his movements and identify his contacts, who were all able to be contacted tested and isolated.
Due to his cooperation the L4 Alert was able to be narrowed down to Auckland and the Coromandel, and the rest of the Country was able to be dropped to L3.
Compare this to what happened in Northland.
On the 4th of October, it was discovered that a woman from Auckland’s Western Suburbs, infected with covid, traveling with false documents, was found to have moved “widely” through the Northern region of the North Island. The woman was not using the covid tracer Ap and refused to divulge her movements and the movements of her companion to the authorities.
Northland has been identified as a population at high risk from the impacts of the virus.
Four days later, despite this woman’s non-cooperation, despite the greater risk Northland was not put into a Level 4 Alert, but instead into the looser Level 3 Alert.
The Level 4 Lockdown has been proven to be extremely effective in eliminating the virus, The Level 3 Alert has been proven to be a failure.
Are the people of Northland’s lives and health not as valued as ours?
Or is there another reason behind this double standard?
On August 30, when Auckland was in L4 Lockdown. The Prime Minister told the country; “In order for Auckland to move down a level, the country must be confident Delta is not circulating undetected in the community”
After making this statement. On September 21, the Prime Minister changed her mind.
Despite there being two cases of undetected covid transmission discovered that day. Against the advice of health experts, the Prime Minister took Auckland out of Alert level 4
Eight days later, (the incubation period of the virus), infections started rising again and haven’t stopped.
It is very convenient, that the failure to contain the virus under Alert Level 3, can now be blamed on gangs and sex workers, and other rule breakers, it avoids the government having to take responsibility for the uncontained spread of the virus that came from their lowering of the Alert Level in Auckland, while there were still uncontained infections circulating in the community.
The spread of covid infections amongst the gangs and sex workers, and the most marginalised members of our society, is not the cause of the failure of the Level 3 Alert, but a symptom of it.
Sign the petition:
Get the government to recommit to Eliminating the virus.
Save lives and livelyhoods,
Kill off the virus, Level 4 lockdown with full rent and mortgage moratorium now.
Pat O’Dea is a unionist and human rights activist.