The situation explained at the 9pm conference is dynamic and very difficult, with Auckland being plunged into a high level of uncertainty again. Our sense of psychological safety is being challenged from multiple directions – not only by the potential spread of the virus that is being actively tested and traced, but also through people breaching advice to self-isolate.
The reasons for these breaches seem to be complex and we certainly need to understand this to ensure it doesn’t happen again. We also need to be cautious not to set-up a vindictive, toxic environment where people start to become reluctant to come towards for testing for fear of exposure to social media backlash or worse.
Nevertheless, the collective trust and effectiveness of the whole community following advice is under pressure. There may now need to be consideration about stronger enforcement action. But this needs to be carefully calibrated to ensure that people do not stop presenting with symptoms or potential situations of virus exposure or transmission.
The 7 days (at least) of Level 3 in Auckland will give some space to consider what happens next, balancing all these interests. No one wants to be in this situation. But it’s important that we consider all angles carefully in this coming period, weighing community public health with particular individual freedoms in a global pandemic.