Life as we have known it is about to change. Three hours ago the Prime Minister announced that the country has moved from COVID-19 alert level 2 to level 3 immediately and will move to alert level 4 in 48 hours time.
The effect of Level alert 3 means:
- Travel in areas with clusters or community transmission limited
- Affected educational facilities closed
- Mass gatherings cancelled
- Public venues closed (e.g. libraries, museums, cinemas, food courts, gyms, pools, amusement parks)
- Alternative ways of working required and some non-essential businesses should close
- Non face-to-face primary care consultations
- Non acute (elective) services and procedures in hospitals deferred and healthcare staff reprioritised
On Wednesday when we move to level 4:
- Everyone must self isolate – Stay at home
- Educational facilities will close
- All businesses closed except for essential services
- Rationing of supplies and requisitioning of facilities
- Travel severely limited
- Major reprioritisation of healthcare services
In effect the country will shut down.
We’re fortunate in that at time of writing, there are only two confirmed cases where the source of infection cannot be traced. It was on that basis of there being a possibility of community transmission occurring that the alert level was raised to level 3.
In effect the country is shutting down for at least four weeks, and for the first time in our history, the government will introduce quantitative easing in order to lessen the hardships we’re about to face.
I am very pleased to see the government is in active negotiation with opposition political parties and the media about how those groupings can continue to play their part holding the government to account; there’s no suggestion of forming a grand coalition, which would in effect drastically reduce accountability of government decisions.
I also praise the Prime Minister in reminding Kiwis that kindness and cooperation within communities is of vital importance and in no way should citizens attempt to enforce the restrictions – don’t judge the appropriateness of the actions of others. That is the role of the authorities, if it is required.
The wife had intended to refill the car today as some of the discounts on her loyalty cards are about to expire. We can usually save between $30 and $40 on a tank of petrol. However, I’m confident that enough people will ignore the advice not to panic buy that there will now be very long queues at every petrol station in town and there’s a possibility that supplies will temporarily run out today.
She’s taken my advice to forego the discounts and delay refilling until we need to, and given the requirement for self isolation, we’re not likely to need to top up the tank for a week or two. By then the panic and queues will be over and stocks will have been replenished. It’s also likely that petrol prices will have dropped significantly and we’ll be able to claw back some of the lost discounts.
It’s at times like this that I’m grateful we have a publicly funded health system. It would appear that directives to the health system in the America, especially to cease elective services, will result in significant loss of income at a time when it’s most needed. That can’t happen here. Also, with health services not being profit driven, health resources on a per capita basis are higher here.
But more than anything else, I’m grateful we don’t have an orange dimwit at the helm.
Keep safe, be strong.
kia haumaru, kia kaha