With the news tonight that there are 4 new cases of COVID19 in South Auckland, and that Auckland is entering Alert Level 3 from Wednesday at noon for three days (at least), and the rest of the country is going to Alert Level 2, people will be trying to remember what this means. Here’s the link to the behaviours expected at those Alert Levels. They may get finessed a little over the next day or so, but Level 3 in this context of a regional lockdown essentially means people staying at home and not leaving or entering the city. Schools will be closed.
The 4 cases means that we are unsure as to what is going on in Auckland right now. So it’s reassuring to see that there will be a campaign of mass-testing starting tomorrow, as well as continued contact tracing to both find the source of the outbreak, and understand what may be going on in the community. To get to the bottom of this may take more than three days, but we will know more as events unfold and tests return over the next 48 hours or so.
For the many of us that hoped that New Zealand had managed to eliminate COVID19 for the long term, this news will come as a disappointment, For some, it will provoke anger, perhaps feelings that the system has failed. At the moment, we just don’t have enough information to come to any conclusions about that.
What we do know is that compared to other nations, we in New Zealand have gone a very long time between controlling the first outbreak, and now this second outbreak, whatever forms this takes in the end. And it’s the unpredictability and the uncertainty which will be to the forefront of our minds over the next short time, and we look to see what exactly has happened, and what this might mean for us. Whether we are in Auckland, have loved ones in Auckland, or also adapting again in the rest of New Zealand.
If you haven’t been washing your hands as frequently as you might have been, step that up. If you haven’t been using the COVID19 Tracer App as much as you could have been, it’s time to step that up. If you’re a business owner and you’ve stopped displaying your QR code, sort that out. Control what you can control. It’s only by acting together, for each other, that we get on top of this again.
We can sometimes think that we were lucky. I urge you not to underestimate the effective actions we all took to get this under control last time too. This took work, hard work and sacrifice. The virus is tricky, contagious, invisible, and has a long incubation period.
We have a limited window to get this right again. And it will probably happen again after this too. This will be the pattern. Be prepared. Take effective action. Do it now. React responsibly and swiftly, with small actions that added up can save us from suffering even bigger consequences.
Go well, go safely, try to get some sleep, and see you in the morning.