Outside the ‘Bubble’

Kia Ora Katoa! Today is Tuesday, April 7th.  I wake this morning to the news that Boris Johnson, British Prime Minister, is now in Intensive Care in Hospital.

Other than that, it is Tuesday, and things are gradually getting up to speed overseas.  This morning I have phone calls from a dear friend, and one of my sons, both very much appreciated.

We watch the 1 pm briefing. Today there are 51 new cases, bringing the total to 1160. That’s the lowest number of new cases since 25 March. So that’s encouraging. Many of the newly identified cases are related to known clusters.

The PM has demoted the Minister of Health, David Clark, who evidently took his family to the beach! Before that, he’d been photographed mountain biking. In contrast, the Director-General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, is a model of tireless rectitude and useful information. He says that wearing masks here is not recommended at this stage. Nevertheless, many do. The wage subsidy, already in effect, is helping one million workers. That is really impressive.

The PM advises having a “staycation” over the long Easter weekend. Don’t go to your bach!

It’s interesting how Jacinda Ardern, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, and the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, display great leadership skills and a sense of responsibility and care for the people they represent and speak for.

I ring the Pharmacy in Johnsonville and establish that our repeat prescriptions are ready. We set off in the car (which still goes) to Johnsonville. It does feel strange.  I liken it to the feeling when one has had a baby, and is taking it home for the first time. The world looks quite different – more colourful, perhaps? Everything is brighter. Everything has changed. And what on earth is my pin number?

At Johnsonville, we tried two entrances to the Shopping Centre, but both were locked. The only way to the Pharmacy was via the Food Court entrance. JD picked up the prescriptions. Apparently you can only go there once every 30 days.

Outside of Churton Park, there are not nearly as many teddies in the windows.

We then go to another supermarket, still close to home. There is no queue, and we can park outside. People go in and out using the same entrance; once inside, you have to sign in and use hand sanitiser.  We each have our lists and go our separate ways. They have one innovation – a one-way system around the store. This is a very good idea, although not everyone follows it.

Some things are missing, but there is a much greater selection here. There are still peaches and nectarines in the fruit and vegetable area, and large feijoas, and brown paper bags. At the checkout tellers, things seem quite huddled and they don’t have Perspex screens.  I load my goods back in the trolley, move it, and then pack my reusable bags.  We have been requested not to bring bags inside the store, and to pack at the car. This makes sense, unfortunately.

After these adventures, we called at the Pharmacy in Churton Park. You have to be called in; it is all very organised, with the dispensary area and till being screened off, and other goods barred. In fact, the attendant gets whatever you want. We buy some vitamin supplements (Omega 3 oil, Vitamin D and magnesium), and pay using payWave. The goods are placed on a tray for us to pick up.  They don’t have face masks at present but will have more in store in a week’s time. It is one customer in for every one out, although we can go in together since we have no symptoms of Covid 19.  Never mind about Dr Fauci’s scary advice that perhaps 50% of carriers of Covid 19 are asymptomatic.

The daily death rate in the US is now 1,200. How is this acceptable on any level? The US is not at war. What grief and confusion there must be. I won’t comment on other overseas news today, except to note that the death rates vary considerably between countries. I wonder why that is: are the figures counted differently, are there different strains of the virus, is the standard of medical care amongst developed nations so very different?

Tomorrow we hope to talk to more of our loved ones.  Tomorrow I plan to make soup.

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