Today is Wednesday, March 25, CV1.

NZ is in lockdown, moves into lockdown at midnight tonight, what does lockdown even mean?

Our loved ones travelled safely back to the UK and caught a train to their home city. The trains were running, and busy. They can get food, and fruit and vegetables, delivered. Yet the UK is in lockdown. How does that work?

It’s interesting that the mood here in NZ is one of acceptance, and there is support at all levels (even in the media) for what Jacinda Ardern is doing. We are lucky to have her. She feels our pain, while announcing really tough measures – a severe lockdown for the next four weeks. We are fortunate that the government and banks are being sensible – no one should go hungry here, and there are mortgage holidays and there is relief for some businesses. There are many formerly Airbnb properties available now as rentals. I haven’t gone fully into the details of the relief packages yet. There is widespread support for this move, and a sincere hope that this pain will slow the increase of diagnosed cases of the virus.

In Australia, ScoMo seems running to catch up in emulating her wise move. It’s probably far easier to do it here, in spite of undoubted hardships. The sight of crowds fills me with dread. To quote Dr John, “Two metres distance determines our existence”. Social distancing seems to make a lot more sense now.

I just watched some Australian news briefings. The state of journalism there leaves much to be desired. In my view, they are all over the place with what’s allowed, and what’s not. NZ and its strategies do not get a single mention.

There seems to be wilful denial here. There is a lot of talk about potential economic impact; certainly, that is likely to be severe, but surely life is more important. It would certainly be very inconvenient to lose any of your loved ones, not to be able to be with them in their suffering, and not to be able to go to their funerals. That is the alternative. It’s like climate change, really. Oh, we can’t afford this! Well, it’s her and happening, now, coming ready or not.

This situation we face is very difficult indeed, but we don’t have natural disasters such as earthquakes, flooding or tornadoes, war or radioactive fallout. So things could be far worse. Surely we could all agree that human life is what matters most here. Our lives will surely change – in many ways, for the better.

Hohepa is not going to send our daughter back to Wellington. I have booked to have a flu vaccination on 20 April (they are really busy – that was the soonest appointment), and Access will not send a cleaner for the next four weeks.  That is frustrating – I thought care services were essential services.

There have been random acts of kindness. Public transport is reverting to a Sunday timetable, and all travel is free – you don’t have to use your snapper card. With the buses, you get on and off using the back door, so as not to expose the driver. The library have renewed all items until 4 May, there is no need to return books in the meantime.

The “shoulds” are greatly reduced.

This morning I walked to the local supermarket soon after 10 am, hoping to buy bread (it’s delivered at 10 am). It’s fine and warm outside. On the way, people are avoiding each other, but cheerfully.  At the shopping centre, there are lots of cars in the carpark, and the supermarket is busy. Asian people and checkout operators are wearing masks. There is no crowd control. There is plenty of bread, although only two loaves left of Molenberg toast-sliced bread. I buy one, and some apples, and a muffin for morning tea – probably my riskiest purchase.


  • The Head of Harvard University and his wife have tested positive
  • Dr Fauci is back at WH news conferences but not looking happy
  • Spanish deaths are up – 514 overnight
  • Italian deaths are slightly down
  • New York is very badly hit indeed
  • The US President wants to get the US economy going again by opening it up, against the advice of most people.
  • The Olympics have been postponed.
  • WHO has warned that the US may become the centre of the pandemic.
  • In NZ, Warehouse stores will close. They are not essential.

Senator Lindsey Graham said something sensible. After all, you can’t work if you’re dead or sick. I doubt it sacrificing the older people is going to do much good either – you’ll end of nursing them, or attending their funerals (as permitted). Then who will mind your children?

In NZ we have an institution called the Correspondence School. In the past, it has been a great backup for times when for various reasons children couldn’t attend school, during the polio epidemic of the early 1950’s, or perhaps certain subjects weren’t offered at certain schools. Far from its providing a sinecure, I have met some of the very dedicated people who seek to inspire students, albeit at a distance. Could this be ramped up again? Now this would be a great activity for retired folk.

I see many countries are looking to retired medical people to return to the heath work force to help out. I see several drawbacks to this. Most of these folk are older, i.e. 70 or more, and haven’t kept up their registrations with annual retraining and exams. It would make more sense to graduate nurses and doctors early. They will be treating Covid19 patients, and will learn a great deal on the job. Any necessary refresher courses can be done after the immediate danger has passed.

We await the 1 pm briefing to learn the latest situation here. There are 50 new cases, bringing the total to 205. The Prime Minister has declared a state of emergency, and warned that the number of diagnosed cases may climb before it declines. I have been trying to sign up to Stuff’s daily newsletter, but they require a strong password, and I have trouble confirming mine. Why, one wonders?  What is there to hide? I already log in to put the paper on hold when we (used to) go away, but that login won’t do.

Tomorrow (Thursday) I would have gone to singing at the Khandallah Town Hall from 11 – 12:30. I enjoyed that, they are a great group, but now the singing is off and the Khandallah Community Centre is closed. Just getting there and back was usually enough for the day. I was on the desk, too, noting payment and attendance, so had an added responsibility.

All my activities are cancelled for now, and one is only allowed to go out for essential shopping and a walk.

I enjoy writing about this situation. Somehow, there is always plenty to say. It certainly helps me, and I hope is useful to others. And it takes up some time!

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