Monday, June 08, 2020

We did it!

New Zealand now has zero active cases of Covid-19. None. After 75 days, and 22 deaths, the epidemic is over... for now. But its still wildly out of control in the rest of the world. Which is why those people demanding that we re-open the border to countries which still have the disease - invariably so they or their friends can make money - need to be told to fuck off. We're currently in a little bubble of normality. But it takes only one case to get through undetected, one person to break quarantine, and we're back where we started. Except next time, it will be harder, because people are tired of the restrictions and will be less willing to comply. Its obviously better to not end up in that situation, which means keeping the border closed, and only opening it to countries which have eradicated the virus and which have similarly strong border restrictions to keep it out.

Meanwhile, I'm wondering: will the epidemic notice - an important policy instrument which gives the government all sorts of special powers - be revoked, or allowed allowed to expire on its current date of June 24? There are big policy implications from this - the entire order system under the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act depends on it, as do various special powers under the Health Act, plus things like visa extensions for people trapped here by the border closure - so it might take a little time to work through. But its a question the government should be prepared to front up and answer.