Lockdown could be maintained ‘for a long while’

New Zealand has just started the second week of a four week lockdown, (which means isolation at home with exceptions for essential activities). But this always looked like an initial period, and there are more signs that it could extend for some time longer in some parts of the country at least as it has emerged that the plan here is to try to ‘stamp out’ the Covid-19 virus.

That could see lockdown maintained “for a long while”.

Stuff: Government says it has no plan B if lockdown fails to stamp out Covid-19

Health Director General Ashley Bloomfield told reporters on Thursday that the Government would keep the country or parts of it in lockdown for as long as possible to “stamp out” Covid-19.

“One of our key drivers on this has been to protect our healthcare system, protect our population – keep them well – and to not see the number of deaths modelling suggested would happen. We didn’t see that as tenable.”

Some  non-health people see the initial impact on the economy as untenable (with some justification), let alone the impact on businesses and jobs if there’s an extended lockdown.

Asked again if there was any backup plan, Bloomfield said the Government was “in the plan” and that could see lockdown maintained for a long while.

“Well we are in the plan. The plan is the plan, isn’t it. That’s why we’ve got alert level 4. If we need to we will keep the measures in place until we see that dropoff in cases. We will then maintain that long-term stamp-it-out phase.”

He referred back to the pandemic influenza plan which has acted as a blueprint for government action, but said the Government had essentially decided to stay away from the phase of that plan where the disease was “managed”.

“We decided we didn’t want to move to manage it. We wanted to stay in an extended keep it out, stamp it out phase. And the stamp it out we are trying to do at the moment is stamp it out altogether.”

But can we afford (economically and socially) to wait an extended time to see if our approach works?

University of Otago epidemiologist Nick Wilson, who has worked on the models for the Government, said on Tuesday that the Government needed clarity around a Plan A and a Plan B if it failed.

This might involve all older people staying in lockdown but other age groups restarting something closer to normal life.

Bloomfield said the Government was currently working out what exactly the conditions would need to be for either the whole country or parts of it to exit the level 4 lockdown.

He expected this work would be completed in the next few days.

So they don’t know yet. They have had to make big decisions based on limited information in a very short space of time, but we should be given a reasonable idea of what to expect over the next few months and for the rest of the year.

ODT: South may face Level 4 lockdown for longer

The Southern District Health Board amassed 10 new cases yesterday, and director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield advised the amount of cases due to community transmission was higher than previously stated.

They don’t even knoiw the amount of community transmission due to fairly narrow criteria for testing up until now.

Further, he said the Government was just now looking at how the spread of the coronavirus might indicate when lockdown restrictions could be eased.

“The goal is to get the number of cases right down again, and as soon as we can.

“We want to be able to release, or step down from, Alert Level 4 to Alert Level 3.

“It may well be that we are not able to do that in every part of the country at the same time, as one possible scenario,” Dr Bloomfield said.

The Southern district (Otago and Southland) has the highest number of cases in total and by far the highest number per population so we could be well down the de-lockdown list. Personally this doesn’t worry me, I can keep working from home if the rest of the country cranks up and there’s work to do. But the situation is a lot trickier for many people.

Australia has not taken as drastic action as here, but Prime Minister Scott Morrison has warned of ‘the long haul’: Scott Morrison scraps childcare fees while warning Australia to brace for six months of upheaval

Morrison declined to be specific when asked on Thursday when Australia’s international border might reopen or other strict restrictions on public gatherings might be lifted. But he took the opportunity to urge Australia to “stay together” and brace for the long haul, ahead of another meeting of the national cabinet on Friday.

“There is a new normal here in Australia and it’s one that we now need to get used to and settle into for that haul over the next six months,” Morrison said. “That is something that will go against the grain for so many, but we adapt. We can change the way we live, but it doesn’t change who we are.”

Morrison said he is the only leader in the world talking about a much longer timeframe.

I’ve just heard Morrison on RNZ in response to questions about opening borders to the US, UK and Europe: “It is likely to be at least six months, It could be longer.”

It’s time for Jacinda Ardern to be giving us in New Zealand a clear indication of her expectations of timeframes in lockdown and reduced to Level 3. If it’s doing to be ‘a long while’ we should know about it.

 

Leave a comment

36 Comments

  1. Duker

     /  3rd April 2020

    Southern District has highest number of cases because of 1 reason – Queenstown.

    Reply
  2. Blazer

     /  3rd April 2020

    this is not an issue to play politics with.
    Bi partisan co-operation is required.

    The critiques of Clark,Wiles and the Govt in general are not helping stymie the virus.

    Any good,positive ideas are welcomed by the Govt.

    The narrow portal of self interest will be expressed with more vigour as frustration with the current restrictions increases.

    Reply
    • David

       /  3rd April 2020

      Blazer I am stunned, after years of you ignoring the impacts of the quakes and the GFC to smash the other side at every opportunity have you found the light, the true path.

      Reply
  3. artcroft

     /  3rd April 2020

    If we are going for elimination our border is shut for 12 months till the vaccine arrives. If we achieve elimination we can re-open the domestic economy, but my guess is elimination will need a 2 month lockdown. And properly shut borders.

    Reply
    • David

       /  3rd April 2020

      “and properly shutting the borders” is exactly right rather than just twiddling ones thumbs and waiting for flights to dwindle.

      Reply
      • artcroft

         /  3rd April 2020

        Yeah, but I don’t think anyone in the govt can articulate what we are actually trying to achieve. Its all very vague.

        Reply
        • artcroft

           /  3rd April 2020

          Still without a clear target, whatever you achieve can be labelled a success.

          Reply
  4. Alan Wilkinson

     /  3rd April 2020

    The bureaucracy doesn’t have a monopoly of brains, or even the best. They need to get the private sector working hard on the problems.

    Reply
    • Conspiratoor

       /  3rd April 2020

      Not wishing to be left out of the action, we have our first cluster

      https://www.nzherald.co.nz/coronavirus/news/article.cfm?c_id=1504828&objectid=12321696

      Reply
    • Blazer

       /  3rd April 2020

      the private sector is…..’how can we make big profits from this misery’?

      not forgetting….gummint bail out please.
      Free enterprise=Harvey Norman ultimatum to landlords..we’re not paying rent/24hr notice…and cancelling their dividend as the shares went ex.

      Reply
      • David

         /  3rd April 2020

        Lets hope they can see huge profits in a vaccine or treatment pour huge amounts of resources in and save 100s of thousands of lives.
        The surest way this thing gets fixed is it becoming widespread in the US where the biggest motivation is profits and winning and if its Moderna or J and J or BAT who cares. I would happily pay for a vaccine and pay for another 10 people as well, who wants my cash.

        Reply
      • Corky

         /  3rd April 2020

        How do you think the wellfy are doing, Blazer?

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  3rd April 2020

          suggested lockdown reading….Charles Dickens-A Christmas Carol,Bleak House and A Tale Of 2 Cities.

          Reply
        • Blazer

           /  3rd April 2020

          Your mate ‘Mikey’ ….(compliments of MS@TS)
          ‘March 4, 2020 – The government shouldn’t be too quick to intervene in the economy
          March 6, 2020 – We need to stop overreacting to coronavirus
          March 16, 2020 – The government should have been quicker to intervene in the economy
          March 23, 2020 – We need to shut the country down
          April 1, 2020 – We didn’t need to shut the country down’

          Reply
      • Pink David

         /  3rd April 2020

        The government has destroyed the private sector. Do you not think there is any obligation on the government to mitigate the damage that will impact every single NZ’er? Or, perhaps your resentment and bile means you just want the entire country to be reduced to poverty?

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  3rd April 2020

          How can it be reduced to poverty?

          The sun will still shine,life will go on….why live merely to…work.

          Reply
          • MaureenW

             /  3rd April 2020

            Yes, Venezuela.. the sun shines there .. have you thought of going at all? You won’t need to now (won’t be able to either).

            Reply
      • Zedd

         /  3rd April 2020

        the longer this goes on.. the more likely that some, will start to see it as an excuse to ‘profiteer’.. I hear that some folks ARE stockpiling frozen veges, canned food etc. WHY ?
        >perhaps they think; they will be auctioning it off, to the ‘highest bidder’ in time ?? Enuf sed

        Reply
        • Pink David

           /  3rd April 2020

          “I hear that some folks ARE stockpiling frozen veges, canned food etc. WHY ?”

          Because they are smarter than you are.

          Reply
      • artcroft

         /  3rd April 2020

        I thought we were being positive Blazer.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  3rd April 2020

          the mood…

          ‘1) What pandemic?
          2) It is just the flu
          3) shit we all going to die, get the toilet paper
          4) Lockdown phew we safe. Lets play xbox for a month
          5) Shit we all going to lose our jobs, I’m bored of this, put the sport back on

          We are now entering number 5 public first time are more worried about economy than the virus’
          anon/Chch.

          Reply
  5. Gezza

     /  3rd April 2020

    Damn this OTT bloody lockdown !

    My trusty Macpac Kea Polartec® Micro Fleece® Jacket – that’s lasted years & is smart as, & warm as, has seen better days. The threadbare elbows & sleeves are now full of holes.

    I saw last night that they were reduced in price & I dare not wear the current one out in public so I ordered one online using my brand new BNZ Visa Debit card (no fees, works like an eftpos card – gonna cancel my Visa card as I never use the credit facility, pay off any online purchases straight away & end up getting stiffed with bloody credit card account fees twice a year! 😠 )

    Order Confirmation email has this:

    We know you’re going to be super keen to get your new purchase however following government advice we are unable to deliver until the Level 4 lockdown has been downgraded. We will keep your items safe until then but in the meantime if you would like to cancel your order please contact us at customercare@macpac.co.nz

    Estimated Delivery Times
    Once we have been given the all clear by the New Zealand government and are able to dispatch our regular dispatch times will apply:

    Orders are processed within 2-3 business days of being received.
    Most orders will arrive between 2-5 business days from dispatch.
    Rural delivery or remote locations can take just a little longer so please allow an additional 2 working days.

    FFS ! I was out chatting with Bluey Pook at the fence this morning & saw the postie drive up & deliver mail to our bank of letterboxes.

    Couriers seem to still deliver some packages (admittedly a lot fewer couriers though).

    Why isn’t a warm jacket as Winter bears down on us in Wet & Windy Welly an essential item ? 😳

    Reply
    • Pink David

       /  3rd April 2020

      Welcome to Soviet Russia.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  3rd April 2020

        David…change your name from Pink David to either Hyperbolic David…or maybe RED David!

        Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  3rd April 2020

      Gezza, you may be able to buy one from The Warehouse now if the PM decides that it’s not essential that people freeze.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  3rd April 2020

        Ironically then it will come from China.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  3rd April 2020

          The PDT will be disappointed to hear that winter clothes are now available online from The Warehouse.

          Reply

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