I am aware that Alex Berenson is somewhat of a controversial author, but if his recent claim about indefinite detentions in Aotearoa New Zealand is so wildly inaccurate, how factual are his comments about other causes he promotes? Fact checking on the situation on Aotearoa New Zealand is so simple, that Berenson’s comment borders on being hilarious.
According to a recent tweet, Berenson claims that people here are being detained indefinitely:
Knowing Berenson’s opposition to the way most nations are managing the pandemic, I don’t know whether his tweet is a genuine misunderstanding of the context, or he is being deliberately disingenuous.
Let’s get the story straight shall we?
- Currently our borders are closed to everyone attempting to enter the country except for NZ citizens, residents and those who have qualified for special exemptions. There is no restriction on anyone leaving the country.
- Everyone arriving in New Zealand must go into managed isolation for two weeks.
- There is a high level of trust required of those in isolation. They are put up in mostly 4 and 5 star hotels at taxpayer expense and the facilities are made “secure” by the way of temporary fencing of the type typically seen around construction sites. As has been demonstrated by one “escapee”, it is very easy to cut the plastic ties that hold the fencing together.
- Of the more than 30,000 people that have passed through managed isolation, just four have broken the rules and left the premises where they were isolated without gaining permission.
- There is no indefinite confinement. The statement that thousands of people will be quarantined in isolation facilities for months and possibly years was in reference to the protocol of requiring inbound travellers to isolate for 2 weeks in managed isolation.
- When the 2 week isolation period is up, the returnees are free to go about their lives as we all are: no social distancing; no masks; unrestricted crowd sizes; sports facilities, bars, restaurants, nightclubs etc operate as normal. In other words, business as normal.
- There is no community transmission of COVID-19 in Aotearoa New Zealand
- The NZ COVID-19 cases being reported to WHO are those of people in managed isolation who tested positive within the managed isolation period. In other words, they contracted the virus before arriving in the country.
- If it wasn’t for the fact that most countries have failed to get COVID-19 under control, this country would have no need for border restrictions at all.
While I’d like to think that it was a genuine error on Berenson’s part, the fact that he has not removed the tweet or made a correction is telling.
Perhaps what is less surprising is the fact that so many people accept the tweet as factually correct, even though many Kiwis have replied, made it clear the comments by Michael Baker, professor of public health at Otago University have been taken entirely out of context. In fact a quick scan of the comments and retweets seem to indicate that only Kiwis are contesting the accuracy of Berenson’s tweet. Is the rest of the world really so ignorant and willing to believe a lie?
As one Kiwi tweeted “Who needs comedy when you have Americans on Twitter”. With that, I can’t help but nod my head in agreement.