Sir David Skegg – NZ could eliminate the virus if we “don’t go soft to soon”

Sir David Skegg, speaking at the Epidemic Response Committee again. says that New Zealand could be the only country to eliminate the Covid-19 virus, but says border restrictions and quarantining needs to be strictly enforced, and he hopes “we don’t go soft to soon”.

From Live Covid-19 updates from New Zealand and around the world on 7 April

Sir David Skegg says he agrees with Professor Michael Baker that New Zealand could be the only western country to eliminate Covid-19.

“If we can show we’re on the path to elimination, we can move out of the lockdown more quickly. Provided we are successful, life can return to something near normal.”

He says border restrictions will have to continue.

Sir David says that if border quarantining isn’t more strictly enforced, the lockdown will have to be extended. He says we need to figure out a quicker way to contact trace through phone apps before the lockdown is lifted.

Sir David says from a purely health perspective, he would suggest being in lockdown for six months, but he acknowledged it can’t be done and people’s tolerance would wear thin.

He says it’s a worrying sign that the criteria of “essential services” continues to expand.

“We talked about going early and hard, I just hope we don’t go soft to soon.”

Obviously if we are going to minimise or eliminate the virus borders will have to be strictly controlled. Ideally that should have happened before the lockdown, but the reality was there were many people needing to get out of the country, and a large number of citizens and residents who needed to return home, and it would have been logistically very difficult to impose full tests and quarantine for tends of thousands of people.

If we stop the virus spreading internally we should have restrictions reduced and businesses that can do so safely should be able to get back into action, along with employees.

A six month lockdown would likely be unacceptable to the public and would be at risk of increasing abuse of the rules. We have to find a way of reasonably safely returning to as normal as possible as soon as possible.