Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Kate Hawkesby: It's a fine line between being grateful and complacent for our freedom


I thought a lot over summer – as I’m sure many of us did, just how lucky we are to be able to get out and about, attend concerts and festivals, mingle with each other, travel around the place, eat out, conduct our normal lives.

I don’t think we take that for granted.

Especially when we see the pictures from overseas where countries still ravaged by Covid are locked down, shut, excluding people from daily activities.

But it’s a fine line isn’t it, between being grateful and aware of our privilege here, and being complacent.

My Mum was telling me the other day that she’s always surprised at how few people sign in anywhere, or use the contact tracing app. I’m not surprised at all, I don’t think it’s front of mind for many of us – why would it be?

We feel safe and Covid-free.

But she was saying she feels like the only person scanning her app at the doors of restaurants and shops, as others push past her to get in to wherever they’re going. And I don’t doubt that. We’ve had it good for a long time.

But we are taking a very vigilant approach.

Some would argue – as Nick Wilson Professor of Public Health did yesterday on the show, that we could be doing more.

That our approach isn’t vigilant enough.

That we should be not just pre departure testing people, but also making them quarantine at their point of origin for 5 days before they even fly here. That seems not only logistically challenging, but also excessive.

But as he pointed out, we’ve taken the elimination road, and we simply can’t afford to have Covid –and especially its new variant – arrive here.

They can’t believe how staunch we are here overseas.

My brother whose in the States at the moment was explaining to some Americans how our MIQ works.

They couldn’t believe you have to stay in your hotel room and you can’t leave. They were in shock that there’s military guarding the quarantine hotels. “Soldiers? At the doors?”, they were amazed. Mind you, their idea of military at the doors is probably a bit different to our military.

But our vigorous stance may well be the key to keeping Covid out.

And all those pointing the finger at the government and insisting they do more, maybe we start by looking at what we can do more of? And contact tracing and scanning as we come and go, might be a good place to start.

Kate Hawkesby is a political broadcaster on Newstalk ZB - her articles can be seen HERE.

1 comment:

oneblokesview said...

New Zealand is still locked down by fear. Pragmatism has long since left the building.

I returned to NZ in September, military guarding the hotel is, in my view. The wrong image. Military personnel present at the hotel would be more correct.

Last weekend I travelled from the deserted canyon called Auckland International Airport to spend 19 hour layover in Singapore.
Singaporeans dont suffer the paranoia that I observed in NZ. A very pragmatic approach. Singapore by the way allow Kiwis free access to Singapore subject to a negative test on arrival and the correct paperwork

Yes, they promote all the good things like masks, washing hands, distancing which by the way iss one metre between people.(The WHO standard) Not the paranoid 2 metres of NZ Health deciders.

Arrival in Cambodia was also a delight. If you have Visa, medical certificate & health insurance and the $2000USD deposit etc. Its a very short time to then get bags and Covid test before being bused to Hotel. All up a one hour experience before I hit the hay in my room.

This compared to the 3 nearly 4 hours to get to my bed in Auckland!!

Oh, by the way Cambodias 16 million people have a far lower rate of Covid infection than New Zealand. All without a major lockdown. just over 400 cases with zero fatalities.

In my opinion there are lots of things that contributed to NZs low case load. Government actions were NOT the main inhibitor!!! Try life style, season and population density in a country without heavily aircon/central heating environments.