Today is Friday August 14th. Kia ora katoa.
Today, the cases of people infected with Covid 19 keep on coming, it seems, although they still pale in comparison with countries overseas. This morning’s paper carries dire recriminations. We obviously did something wrong! There hasn’t been enough testing. People helping manage new arrivals should be tested as a matter of course. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Contact tracing should have been done better, and been more effective. Business has to live with Covid 19. We have been too complacent. We should have stayed in Level 2 for longer, before moving to level 1. Bah, humbug!
Actually I don’t think we were too complacent. There were flasks of hand sanitiser everywhere I went, and QR codes to be downloaded, if you had the contact-tracing ap, or photographed. People were really cautious about returning to the weekly activities I am involved in. Most shops and cafes were nicely busy, not crazy busy – using them was enjoyable. One didn’t have to queue. I was still careful about touching any surfaces such as handrails or eftpos terminals, trying to use a glove or a tissue when possible, and washing my hands whenever I thought to do so, certainly every time I returned home.
This morning I learnt that two positive tests had occurred in Tokoroa, so the coronavirus has moved south from Auckland. A congregation at a Samoan church in Mangere needs to be tested. A pupil at a primary school on Auckland’s North Shore has tested positive, as has another pupil in South Auckland. So far, all new cases are linked to the Auckland family of four who tested positive on Tuesday. It is still not known how the original infection (symptoms dated from 31 July) was acquired. Experts don’t think there has been other community transmission, as there would surely be more symptoms around. But Spring has come early again, this year, and there are many sniffles around. One tends to ignore them, but then there is huge blame on someone symptomatic who turns out to be infected. How did they not realise they were infected? I myself get asthma and hay fever. I cough sometimes. How do I know it’s probably just allergies? My eyes are really sore, and I can still smell the perfume, disinfectant, or alcohol.
Today there are 12 new cases of Covid 19, and one additional probable case. A lot of testing has been done, including key people managing the formal quarantine for travelers from overseas/Plans for the day (a special one) are changed, firmed up, and abandoned as we learn more news. We had planned to have lunch at Elements Café in Lyall Bay, but I am unable to book a table there. It is normally quite roomy, unlike my favourite Italian places in Cuba St, but owing to the reimposed social distancing routines, tables have to be further apart, and space is more limited. Everyone is being super-careful here.
In the end we have waffles for lunch at a place in Tawa, We have to sign in, which is now standard practice. Only every second table is used, and tables are wiped down between customers (as indeed they should be). We are brought cutlery as needed and sugar sachets for our coffee on request, instead of the containers being on the tables.We are late, and it is sunny and uncrowded.
My shopping trip is completely replanned, and some of it doesn’t happen. After lunch we go to the Warehouse in Porirua, which I figure is the nearest Warehouse store. Traffic is very busy in Porirua (at 4 pm), but the Warehouse store has few customers. After this we go to New World in Thorndon, where it is very busy, and many people are wearing masks. We have to pack our own goods. This really slows everything down.
At 5:30 pm the Prime Minister addresses the nation. The current situation will remain until midnight on 26th August, that is, for two entire weeks. The Auckland area will remain at level 3, and the rest of the country will remain at level 2. So that’s that. I guess all my activities will be cancelled for the next two weeks. At least we don’t live in Auckland, and we didn’t go to Auckland. That seems to be one very large (extended) family that started all this!
In New Zealand, it seems that most people are prepared to play by the rules, imposed by the government, i.e. by Jacinda Ardern, accepting the advice given by Dr Ashley Bloomfield. They are aided by the Minister of Health, Chris Hipkins. At each press conference a rowdy crowd of reporters tumbles over itself to ask (sometimes silly) questions. I appreciate much of the work journalists do, but these sessions tend to become ridiculous. A woman who had come from the US with her husband and four little children spoke on National Radio of her gratitude, not only for being here, but for having things well run, in contrast too where she’s come from. She and her family are in quarantine: they have two queen-size beds, one of which is a pirate ship! It was refreshing to hear her. This government have had to organise everything – testing, contact tracing, closing the borders and setting up managed isolation, the four levels of Covid 19 protection, and now manning the Auckland borders both north and south. I think they have been quite amazing. You can’t please all the people all of the time, but every one I’ve spoken to is impressed by how this situation continues to be managed. I am also very impressed at how shops, cafes and libraries etc have brought out their rules again and are putting them back into practice. It’s good to be kept safe.
Yesterday a new LRB came in the mail. I am enjoying reading it. Nga mihi.